Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Argentina and Her People of To-day
Author: Winter, Nevin O. (Nevin Otto)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Argentina and Her People of To-day" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



ARGENTINA AND HER PEOPLE OF TO-DAY



Works of NEVIN O. WINTER


    Mexico and Her People of To-day      $3.00

    Guatemala and Her People of To-day    3.00

    Brazil and Her People of To-day       3.00

    Argentina and Her People of To-day    3.00

  L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
  53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.

[Illustration: PLAZA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES (_See page 35_)]



                              ARGENTINA AND
                               HER PEOPLE
                                OF TO-DAY

                            AN ACCOUNT OF THE
                  CUSTOMS, CHARACTERISTICS, AMUSEMENTS,
                         HISTORY AND ADVANCEMENT
                        OF THE ARGENTINIANS, AND
                      THE DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCES
                            OF THEIR COUNTRY

                                   BY
                             NEVIN O. WINTER

              Author of “Mexico and Her People of To-day,”
                  “Guatemala and Her People of To-day,”
                 “Brazil and Her People of To-day,” etc.

                 ILLUSTRATED FROM ORIGINAL AND SELECTED
                        PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR

                             [Illustration]

                                 BOSTON
                         L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY
                                MDCCCCXI

                           _Copyright, 1911_,
                         BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
                             (INCORPORATED)

                          _All rights reserved_

                      First Impression, April, 1911

                      _Electrotyped and Printed by
                           THE COLONIAL PRESS
                  C. H. Simonds & Co., Boston, U.S.A._



    TO
    Elizabeth Eleanor

    AND

    Charles Winter
    Coyle



PREFACE


The Spaniards who first visited the coast of Argentina, and sailed up
the broad and imposing river that empties into the Atlantic Ocean,
were so impressed with the outlook and prospects, that they named the
country Argentina, which means silvery or silver-like, and bestowed
upon the majestic stream the name Rio de La Plata, which means river
of silver. When their prospectors failed to find the great deposits of
gold and silver, which had been described to them by the natives, this
province lost much of its importance, and soon dwindled into comparative
insignificance. The city, which was founded near the mouth of that river,
continued for more than two centuries a comparatively unimportant place.

It remained for a later age to develop the real wealth of Argentina,
a treasure far greater than mines of gold or silver. The growth of
population, and the increase in manufacturing, to which were devoted the
energies of many European countries, made imperative the development
of new sources of food supplies. The rich pampas of Argentina, which
had heretofore been of comparatively little worth, and of which square
leagues were almost given away by the government to any one who would
pay the taxes, began to attract attention. Experiments showed that the
soil was well adapted to the cultivation of all the cereals grown in
temperate regions. The construction of refrigerator vessels, by means
of which frozen meat could be carried across the equator to Europe, and
delivered there in as good condition as when it was started, stimulated
the live-stock industry to gigantic proportions. The result has been that
Argentina is to-day one of the greatest food-producing countries on the
face of the globe.

At the present time Argentina stands at the head of all the republics
south of the United States in commercial importance. Its imports and
its exports greatly exceed those of any of the other countries, and its
population is rapidly growing. The people are energetic, resourceful and
ambitious. Its capital is one of the great cities of the world. It has
been the aim of the writer in the preparation of this work to present
a complete treatise upon that country, which shall cover not only its
resources, their present development and the possibilities of the future,
and a brief but comprehensive history of the republic, but a study of the
people and their characteristics, and the new race which is growing up
as a result of the amalgamation of the different elements that are now
pouring into it. In the preparation of the work there has been not only
an extensive first-hand study, but the works of the leading writers upon
that country have been consulted, so that the author’s view-point might
be broadened and a more accurate survey result.

The author wishes to acknowledge his obligation to Hon. Charles Hitchcock
Sherrill, Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary of the United
States to Argentina, for many courtesies received at his hands, to the
Pan-American Union and its able director, and to the Bulletin published
under its auspices, for similar courtesies and permission to use two or
three photographs which appear in this work.

    TOLEDO, OHIO, _March, 1911_.



[Illustration: MAP of ARGENTINA]



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

    PREFACE                                                            vii

         I. THE COUNTRY                                                  1

        II. THE METROPOLIS OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE                   22

       III. THE CAMP                                                    48

        IV. THE RIVER OF SILVER                                         74

         V. THE GARDEN OF THE REPUBLIC                                  99

        VI. THE PROVINCE OF GOOD AIRS                                  121

       VII. THE MYSTERIOUS LAND OF THE PATA-GOAS                       136

      VIII. CROSSING THE CONTINENT                                     158

       IX. THE PEOPLE AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS                        189

        X. THE PEOPLE AT PLAY                                          209

       XI. EDUCATION AND THE ARTS                                      230

      XII. THE FORCES OF DEFENCE                                       246

     XIII. RAILROADS AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT                             260

      XIV. RELIGIOUS FORCES                                            287

       XV. THE STRUGGLE AGAINST OPPRESSION                             298

      XVI. THE ERA OF DEVELOPMENT                                      329

     XVII. TRADE CONDITIONS IN SOUTH AMERICA                           361

    XVIII. A PROMISING REPUBLIC                                        377

           APPENDICES                                                  405

           INDEX                                                       415



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                      PAGE

    PLAZA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES (see page 35)                _Frontispiece_

    MAP OF ARGENTINA                                           _facing_ ix

    ON THE UPPER PARANÁ RIVER                                            4

    “GIANT CRANES ARE SWINGING”                                         25

    “THEY FILE AROUND AND AROUND BETWEEN THE PALMS”                     29

    “THE BROAD AND IMPOSING AVENIDA DE MAYO”                            34

    THE AVENIDA ALVEAR                                                  35

    ONE OF THE PALATIAL HOMES OF BUENOS AIRES                           38

    “COWS ARE BROUGHT TO THE DOOR”                                      41

    THE RICOLETA CEMETERY                                               43

    “AGRICULTURE HAS SPREAD FAR AND WIDE”                               51

    THRESHING GRAIN ON AN ESTANCIA                                      52

    “NOT A HANDSOME STRUCTURE, BUT ... RATHER STRIKING”                 54

    A HERD OF HALF-WILD HORSES                                          63

    “THE HARVESTING MACHINES ARE USUALLY PROPELLED FROM THE REAR”       65

    A GAUCHO AND HIS WIFE ON AN OUTING                                  67

    GAUCHOS BRANDING CATTLE                                             71

    A FOREST IN THE GRAN CHACO                                          90

    AN INDIAN WOMAN OF THE GRAN CHACO                                   95

    AMONG THE HILLS OF CORDOBA                                         109

    “A SOMNOLENT ATMOSPHERE SEEMS TO PREVAIL”                          124

    THE LEGISLATIVE PALACE, LA PLATA                                   126

    PUERTO GALVAN, BAHIA BLANCA                                        131

    A SHEEP DIP                                                        143

    NATIVE INDIANS OF PATAGONIA                                        148

    USELESS BAY, TIERRA DEL FUEGO                                      151

    A GLIMPSE OF THE ANDES FROM MENDOZA                                167

    CROSSING THE ANDES                                                 175

    “THE CHRIST OF THE ANDES”                                          176

    A GROUP OF PEONS                                                   193

    ONE OF ARGENTINA’S DAUGHTERS                                       200

    BLACK-HAIRED CHILDREN OF ARGENTINA                                 203

    THE HIPPODROMO, BUENOS AIRES                                       210

    A SUMMER COTTAGE AT EL TIGRE                                       216

    “IMPOSING CREEPER-CLAD COTTAGES ARE DOTTED ALONG THE BANK”         217

    MAR DEL PLATA                                                      222

    ON THE BEACH, MAR DEL PLATA                                        227

    A SECONDARY SCHOOL                                                 232

    THE COLUMBUS THEATRE, BUENOS AIRES                                 245

    A POLICEMAN OF ARGENTINA                                           248

    THE ARMOURED CRUISER, “PUEYRREDON”                                 257

    BRIDGE OF THE INCAS                                                267

    RAILWAY STATION, SANTA FÉ                                          274

    CHURCH IN CORRIENTES, BUILT IN 1588                                289

    SAN MARTIN AND O’HIGGINS AT LA CUMBRE, CROSSING THE ANDES
      INTO CHILE                                                       316

    TYPICAL WAGONS OF THE PAMPAS                                       341

    ROLLS OF PAPER FROM GERMANY                                        364

    CONGRESS PALACE AND THE PLAZA, BUENOS AIRES                        381

    SHIPPING HIDES TO THE UNITED STATES                                394



ARGENTINA AND HER PEOPLE OF TO-DAY



CHAPTER I

THE COUNTRY


With the single exception of Brazil, Argentina is the largest country in
South America. It is about one-third the size of the United States. It
is as large as the United States east of the Mississippi River, with a
state the size of Texas added. The area is one million one hundred and
thirty-eight thousand square miles. It is twelve times as extensive as
the British Isles and five times the size of France. Argentina extends
over thirty-three degrees of latitude, its northern limit being one
degree within the Tropic of Capricorn. Buenos Aires, the capital, is
about as far south of the equator as Atlanta is north, and is as far
east of Washington as Newfoundland. It has a frontage on the Atlantic
of sixteen hundred miles, almost as long as our own Atlantic shore.
Its width varies greatly. The widest place is about nine hundred miles,
and then it decreases again to the south until the mainland at its
southernmost point is only one hundred and fifty miles across. The
Argentine portion of Tierra del Fuego is a triangle about fifty-five
miles on each side. The most of its limitations are natural boundaries,
either of rivers or mountains. The national boundary between Chile
and Argentina, which has been the cause of so much contention, is the
backbone of the continent, and its longitude is still east of New York.

The topography of Argentina is very varied. Some, perhaps, think of it
only as a flat and level country. This is true of the pampas, where for
hundreds of miles there is scarcely a rise as high as a barn. Argentina
probably contains the greatest stretch of level and fertile plains in the
world, whose possibilities have hardly been touched upon. But Argentina
is not all level. It contains within its borders the very highest
mountain peak in the world outside of the Himalayas, mighty Aconcagua,
which pierces the ether up to a height of twenty-four thousand feet. It
also possesses Tupungato, another lofty peak of the Andean range. The
pampas are entirely treeless except for groves which have been planted by
man. But Argentina does not lack timber, for there are tracts larger than
many European kingdoms which are covered with fine forests. The climate
is equally diversified. One may broil in the wilderness of the Chaco,
and shiver with the cold in Southern Patagonia. In fact there is almost
as much difference in the climate as you would find between Sicily and
Iceland. On the Andes slopes there is very little rain, but up in the
territory of Misiones you reach the region of tropical downpours. Thus it
is that you can find a representative type of almost any kind of climate
and almost every variety of soil.

The Rio de la Plata is the second largest river system in the world. It
is one of the three main outlets from the interior of South America to
the sea, and carries almost twice as much water as the Mississippi. At
its mouth the river is one hundred and eighty miles across from Cape San
Antonio, Uruguay, to Cape Santa Maria, in Argentina. A little further
inland, which some consider as the real mouth, the distance is one
hundred and forty miles. Opposite Montevideo the width has narrowed down
to sixty-five miles, and at Buenos Aires it is about twenty-eight miles
from shore to shore. Just above Buenos Aires the river is divided into a
number of forks, which form an extensive delta through which the great
branches run and a number of islands have been created. The principal
branches of this river in Argentina are the Paraná, Uruguay and Paraguay.
The Uruguay River rises in Brazil, less than one hundred miles from the
Atlantic Ocean, and has a length of one thousand miles. The Paraguay
and Paraná Rivers also have their sources in Brazil, near the centre of
the continent, and the former has a length of seventeen hundred miles
before its waters mingle with the latter. It has two tributaries, the
Pilcomayo and Bermejo, which are navigable for small craft. Each of these
rivers is more than five hundred miles long, but they are exceedingly
tortuous, so that navigation is rather difficult and uncertain. The
Paraná River reaches way up into Brazil. It has its source only a few
miles from one of the principal tributaries of the Amazon, over a stretch
of swampy ground of which a part of the water flows into one river and
part into the other. All of these rivers carry down immense quantities
of mud. In places the deposit on the river bottom is from thirteen to
twenty-five feet deep, and it has many banks and shoals. The problem of
keeping channels open to Buenos Aires is a big one, and many dredges are
kept constantly at work. It is generally believed that the interior of
Argentina was at one time a vast inland sea, and that the flat plains
have been formed by the soil which has been deposited by these rivers
during the prehistoric geological ages. The waters of the Atlantic are
coloured by this mud long before the mouth of the river is reached. The
water in the bath-tub looks almost like thin pea soup.

[Illustration: ON THE UPPER PARANÁ RIVER]

The range of temperature and climatic conditions is very great. In
the extreme northern provinces the temperature is similar to that of
Mexico and Florida. On the central pampas the summer heat is connatural
with that of Southern California and Tennessee, while the winter
temperature resembles that of the Ohio Valley. The thermometric range
between the extremes of heat and cold, however, is much less than in
the corresponding latitudes of the northern hemisphere. In general the
climate of the central pampas may be said to correspond roughly with
that of the great cereal producing sections of North America, although
the yearly average is rather higher and the fluctuations are somewhat
less violent. It is better adapted for the growth of grain and raising
of stock then the newly opened provinces of Canada and is more habitable
for man. In fact the name of Buenos Aires (good airs), applied to a city
and province, is not a misnomer. North of Buenos Aires snow is rare and
frost unusual, except in the higher altitudes. South of there it grows
progressively colder as one travels towards Cape Horn.

In the matter of rainfall, also, there are great variations in different
sections. The zonal distribution of rainfall runs in belts from east
to west. This is due to the prevailing winds. The great agricultural
district receives from twenty to forty inches annually, or about the same
as the region around the Great Lakes of the United States. West of this
is a narrow strip that receives only about half of this amount of rain,
and then along the slopes of the Andes is a belt which does not receive
to exceed ten inches. This would favourably compare with New Mexico and
Arizona. In Patagonia the conditions are reversed and the arid belt is
along the Atlantic coast, while the districts near the Andes receive
a fair amount of rainfall. This distribution of rainfall is of utmost
importance in the development of the country. As agriculture extends it
occupies the watered area, and the pastoral industry is driven little
by little farther into the more arid sections. Sheep and cattle are
gradually moving west and southwest into the semi-arid districts. The
province of Buenos Aires, which a few years ago was the pastoral centre,
is now one of the most important agricultural sections. As the process
continues it will become increasingly necessary to open up more southerly
ports for the shipment of animal products, while the northerly ports will
remain the chief exporters of grain.

There are at least a half billion acres of fertile arable land in
Argentina, that can be turned to the cultivation of products for the
sustenance of man. All of this land is easily accessible to the Atlantic.
There are no natural barriers such as transverse ranges of mountains.
The northern provinces can reach Rosario or Buenos Aires by the La Plata
system of waterways, while the rest of the country can, by the simplest
railway construction, be joined up with one of those ports, or with
Bahia Blanca, or one of the new ports in Patagonia. At present these
three ports are the only ones needed, or that will be until Patagonia
has undergone greater development. Only the upper edge of the country is
within the tropics. From there as far south as Buenos Aires the climate
is almost that of the Gulf States, while that city has a climate very
similar to Los Angeles. The heat in summer is sometimes oppressive, but
not more so than in New York or Chicago. It is doubtful whether there are
so many of those oppressive humid days in the southern as in the northern
metropolis. It is never so cold in winter as to prevent out-of-door
life. Even in Tierra del Fuego the winter climate is no more severe than
that of Northern Michigan. The pampas of middle Argentina probably have
less rain than our own middle west. Water is, however, not far below the
surface, and wells are easy to construct for the windmills, which form
so prominent a feature of the landscape on the _estancias_. In Misiones
the landscape is Brazilian, and in parts of Patagonia it resembles
Arizona, only they do not have such extreme drouths. Anything that can
be successfully raised in the United States can be grown in Argentina,
and generally much cheaper. The country, however, lacks our great
mineral wealth. Iron is scarcer than gold, and coal is imported by the
millions of tons each year. Great discoveries may be made in the future,
but Argentina will never be a great competitor of the United States in
mineral products.

Argentina is a land of big things. Farms are reckoned by the square
league, consisting of nearly six thousand acres, instead of by the paltry
acre. All grains are measured and sold by the metric ton of twenty-two
hundred and five pounds, instead of by the diminutive bushel. That
country is now the greatest flax-producing country in the world, and
ranks third in wheat and second in corn. It has more horses than any
country except Russia and the United States, more sheep than any country
except Australia, and is exceeded in the number of cattle only by the
United States. If all the sheep in Argentina were marched across the
United States two abreast they would form a solid column reaching from
Sandy Hook to the Golden Gate. Argentina contains within her borders the
largest city in the southern hemisphere, and the second Latin city in
the world. She probably exports more foodstuffs than any nation on the
globe, if you include both meat and grains. And yet the real resources
of the country have only been scratched on the surface. It is predicted
by good authority that the United States will have to import meat from
foreign markets before a not very distant day. There is no other country
that can be looked to except Argentina with her millions of sheep and
cattle and thousands of fertile leagues that invite development. A
brilliant future certainly awaits this great republic on South American
soil, and North Americans may well inform themselves upon the country,
its people and resources.

Argentina might be divided into two parts, Buenos Aires and the Camp—the
name given to the country. Buenos Aires is at once the London, New
York and Paris of the republic and dominates the country as no other
capital of the world does. It is the largest Spanish-speaking city in
the world, being more than twice as large as Madrid. In the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, was a far
more important place. It contains most of the factories of the country,
receives the greater part of the foreign trade, does the banking of
the nation through its great moneyed institutions, and is the social
and business centre where the money made by those in the interior of
the republic is spent. It is growing at the rate of nearly one hundred
thousand persons each year. The large admixture of foreigners coming in
keep this city, as well as the nation, up to date. New ideas are thus
brought in from everywhere, and the latest inventions and improvements
follow. The Spanish type has been considerably modified by the foreign
commingling so that this capital is now as cosmopolitan as any in the
world.

Most people are accustomed to think of all the South American republics
as _opera bouffe_ affairs. Unfortunately there has been too much
foundation for that reputation in the past. This has probably been
the greatest obstacle to advancement hitherto. Paraguay is still in
that condition, and Uruguay has its almost annual struggle between the
_blancos_ (whites) and _colorados_ (reds). These uprisings are generally
trivial affairs and do not deserve the importance given them. There are,
as a rule, no great principles involved, and the struggle is primarily
for the control of the government between different leaders. They are
usually of short duration and attended with little bloodshed. They are
due to that mediæval idea so strongly intrenched in the Spanish character
that changes can only be brought about by fighting. The idea of settling
these questions at the ballot box has not been fully developed. The
writer was in Uruguay during one of these revolutions, and Montevideo was
as quiet as one could expect to find a city of that size. A great many
young men had fled for fear of conscription in the army. The only way in
which he was discommoded was by the necessity of going to the authorities
to get a permit to leave the city, as no one could embark on a steamer
without this government passport. This revolution was the most severe one
that they had had for five years. There had been several conflicts in
the interior between the _blancos_ and _colorados_, and some blood shed.
Argentina was blamed by the press for the trouble, as it was alleged that
Argentina wanted to create disorder and then seize the country on the
plea that only in that way could property interests be protected.

Argentina in times past went through the same performances. Revolution
followed revolution and dictator followed dictator; but that time has
passed. The principal reminder left is the despotic and arbitrary rule
of the prevailing party. The “elections” are controlled and manipulated
by the party in power. It is always easy to foretell who will be the
successful candidate by looking at his support. A political campaign was
in progress during the writer’s visit, so that he had an opportunity
to observe the trend. The billboards and fences were covered with
proclamations of the candidates and announcements of their policies,
mass meetings were held in the Plaza de Mayo, and other public places,
but the administration had selected its own successor and there never
was the slightest doubt as to the result. Although these high-handed
methods still prevail, it is daily growing less possible for serious
disturbances to arise. The building of railroads and telegraphs has
brought the different sections into touch with each other. The great
investment of foreign capital has had a steadying influence toward more
stable conditions, and has compelled the leaders to appreciate the
necessity for improved political conditions because of the country’s need
for additional foreign gold in developing its natural resources. They
realize that such aid can only be secured by carefully safeguarding
the financial, commercial and industrial interests, and they have set
themselves at work to provide the necessary guarantees of good behaviour.

The Argentine Republic consists of fourteen provinces, ten territories
and the Federal District. The provinces are autonomous in their interior
government, while the territories are ruled by a governor who is
appointed by the President. The Federal District, which includes Buenos
Aires, is administered by an _intendente_, or mayor, appointed by the
President, and assisted by a municipal council elected by the people. The
Argentine Republic has established the federal idea of a union of states
as its form of government. The constitution, which was adopted in 1860,
is modelled closely after that of the United States. The only changes
since that time have been some amplifications of the original articles.
The legislative power is invested in a National Congress which consists
of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. There are thirty senators and one
hundred and twenty deputies. They receive a salary of eighteen thousand
dollars per year in paper money. Senators are elected by the legislatures
of the provinces, which are really states, for a term of nine years, and
to be eligible for election the candidate must be thirty years of age
and have an annual income of two thousand dollars. Each state and the
Federal District is entitled to two senators. One-third of the Senate is
elected every three years. Deputies are elected for a term of four years
by direct popular vote in the proportion of one to every thirty-three
thousand inhabitants, and one-half are elected every two years. They must
be twenty-five years of age and have been citizens of the republic for
four years. The President is elected by electors who are chosen by the
people for a term of six years. Neither the President, nor Vice-President
are eligible to succeed themselves without one term intervening. The
President is assisted by a cabinet of eight members, who are designated
as follows: Interior, Foreign Affairs and Worship, Finance, Justice and
Public Instruction, War, Marine, Public Works, and Agriculture. The
Vice-President is also president of the Senate. Each province has its own
courts, but there are national courts of appeal and first instance as
well. The Supreme Court consists of five judges, who are appointed for
life by the President.

The centralization, or nationalization, of the nation has gone ahead
rapidly in recent years. The forcible separation of the city of Buenos
Aires from the province of the same name was one of the best things ever
done by the government. In removing the preponderance of Buenos Aires
the constant friction between that province, on the one hand, and all
the other provinces, on the other, was removed. Railroads have been
subsidized and immigration encouraged by the national government, in the
effort to develop the country. The post-office has been brought to great
efficiency, and its service is rapid and trustworthy. The telegraph lines
are nearly all controlled by the government, although private ownership
is not prohibited. Of the thirty-five thousand miles of telegraph wires,
enough to go around the globe once and a quarter times, perhaps one-half
are owned by the national government and one-fourth by the provinces. The
greater part of the income is from customs receipts, and the national
government also contributes toward the support of the provinces and
territories in order to equalize taxation. The government has learned
lessons from former experiences in the fluctuation of money values, so
that the paper dollar, or peso, has been officially fixed at forty-four
cents gold. Exchange does not vary more than a fraction of a cent from
that rate at the present time.

The first European navigator to discover the Rio de la Plata was Juan de
Solis, a Spanish captain, in the year 1508, while in search of a passage
to the Pacific Ocean. Magellan did not visit these shores until 1520. A
chronicler who was with Magellan says that the “gigantic natives called
canibali ate de Solis and sixty men who had gone to discover land, and
trusted too much to them.” The first settlement was established at Buenos
Aires in 1536 by Pedro de Mendoza, who has been termed a freebooter, and
who was made governor by the Spanish Crown. This settlement was destroyed
shortly afterward by the hostile Indians, and no permanent settlement was
established on the mud flats of the “river of silver” until nearly forty
years later.

During the succeeding centuries the Spaniards did all that they could
to exploit this country and check all advancement. The only aborigines
were wild and nomadic Indians. Argentina was for a long time subject
to the vice-regency of Peru, and many of the settlements were made by
explorers who came across the Andes. In this way Tucuman was founded in
1565, Cordoba in 1573 and Santa Fé in the same year. The Jesuits spread
their settlements along the rivers far up into Paraguay and Brazil, and
laid the foundation of that mighty power which lasted for two centuries.
They subdued the Indians and turned them into peons or labourers,
but otherwise treated them kindly. For a long while the history of
Argentina is merely a record of the internecine struggles of a loosely
connected province. The settlements were wide apart and there was no
homogeneity. Portugal and Spain fought with each other for supremacy
and the settlement of the lines of demarkation. It was not until the
time of our own declaration of independence that Spain finally realized
the importance of this colony and made it a vice-regency, Dom Pedro de
Cevallos being named as the first viceroy. The Jesuits were expelled and
much of their property confiscated. Some good grew out of this change, as
a number of the viceroys were men of ability and integrity. The spirit of
independence, however, grew and the feeling of revolt steadily increased.

In 1805 Great Britain, then at war with Spain, attempted to capture
the city of Buenos Aires, which had already become an important trade
centre, but was repulsed on several occasions. This was done by the
provincials with scarcely any help from Spain, and success gave them
confidence in themselves. On the 25th of May, 1810, independence from
Spain was formally declared, and this patriotic movement did not cease
until actual independence was achieved several years later. The first
Congress was summoned in 1816, and the United Provinces of the La Plata
River were formally organized. The first president was elected in 1825,
and Don Bernardo Rivadavia was chosen to that position. Uruguay was at
one time forcibly annexed by Brazil, and this action precipitated a war
with Brazil. Argentina championed the smaller state, as a result of which
the independence of Uruguay was guaranteed. Internal wars and revolutions
were numerous in the early days of the republic, for ambitious leaders
were everywhere fighting each other. In 1820 there were a dozen changes
of government. The services of several progressive and able presidents
brought order out of chaos, established the country’s credit and set the
country onward toward the era of progress and prosperity which she has
now enjoyed for a number of years.

From this it will be seen that the early history of the Argentine
Republic is permeated with the smell of blood, and that there has been
much human sacrifice. After studying the history of the many wars and
conditions one can readily read the disappointment and sadness of heart
contained in the political document left by General Bolivar, which
concludes with the words, “I have ploughed in the sea.” Europe at one
time went through similar conditions, but it is doubtful whether in
their worst stage the middle ages equalled the first half-century of the
history of the Latin-American republics. Out of the troublous times of
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Europe emerged nations which had
been strengthened by the lessons of adversity learned in the internecine
struggles of that period, in which principle was opposed to oppression in
every form. The iniquitous policy of the Inquisition superimposed upon
excessive taxation brought about revolt among the Spanish colonies. In
their struggles the colonists have our deepest sympathies, for it was a
revolt against tyranny in its worst form. After freedom, however, the
colonists were still Spaniards, and a turbulent nature had been inherited.

To this inherited trait can be traced the revolutions, civil wars and
political turmoils that have followed. To this fact can be attributed the
tardy economic development of many of the South American republics, and
even of Argentina until the last quarter of a century. This spirit has
now been almost eliminated in Argentina, which has probably progressed
farther in this respect than any of her sister republics. The signs that
the old Spanish character is losing its baneful grip on this country
are multiplying each day. It has been a long and hard lesson for the
Argentinians to learn that political freedom does not mean unrestrained
license, but it is being more clearly interpreted each year. The
conditions are better understood when compared with Uruguay, Paraguay or
Venezuela, where political conditions are still as they were in Argentina
a half-century ago. Travel is safe, investments are secure, and perhaps
the most severe criticism that one can make is that so great a dependence
is placed upon a material prosperity.



CHAPTER II

THE METROPOLIS OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE


“What is the Camp?” I asked of a Buenos Airean one day.

“Everything outside of Buenos Aires,” was his reply.

“Is Rosario a part of the Camp?” I questioned, for Rosario is the second
municipality in the Argentine Republic, and is a city approaching two
hundred thousand inhabitants.

“Yes, but we would not say so in Rosario.”

This little conversation reveals the pride of all _Porteños_, as they
call themselves, in their city, for the term Camp is used as country is
with us. Buenos Aires contains the wealth and culture of the republic,
and is the centre of the political as well as national life. One-fifth of
the entire population dwell there, for the head has outgrown the body.
“Paris is France,” says the Parisian, but the importance of that capital
to France is outclassed by the significance of Buenos Aires to Argentina.

Buenos Aires is a wonderful city, and its inhabitants are a remarkable
people. Italians and Spanish abound there in great numbers; thousands of
French, British and Germans have found a haven on the low bank of the
Rio de la Plata, and it would be difficult to find a race in Asia or
Africa that has not its representatives in that cosmopolitan metropolis.
On the street almost any tongue may be heard, and nearly every European
language is represented by its own newspaper. It is not a tropical city,
such as Rio de Janeiro, nor an indolent one, but a city of business and
enterprise with a great deal of the Latin love of pleasure in evidence.
Women have become open competitors of men in the offices and stores, and
the old conservatism of Spain has been compelled to yield to a broader
cosmopolitanism.

“There is nothing in any other city that cannot be found here,” is
the boast of the _Porteño_. In a general sense the claim is true. The
skyscraper, the elevated railway and the “tube” are missing, but there
are few conveniences or luxuries that cannot be purchased, if one only
has the price. The price is usually high, for Buenos Aires is a very
expensive city in which to live. Nearly all articles pass through the
custom house and have a certain percentage added to the original cost in
the foreign markets.

There are almost a million and a quarter of these busy people who
make their homes in Buenos Aires. In the New World it is exceeded
in population by only three cities of the United States. It is as
cosmopolitan as New York, and is the hub and centre of the whole
republic. On the vast pampas grow the grain and meat which sustain
the energies of the factory workers of Europe, who, in turn, send to
Argentina the product of their looms and machine shops. It is upon the
fertility of these broad leagues, which produce such great quantities
of cereals, meat, wool and hides, that the people live. There is little
manufacturing in the city and the absence of smoke-stacks is the most
striking aspect, when viewed from a height by an American.

[Illustration: “GIANT CRANES ARE SWINGING”]

It is only necessary to go down to the immense docks of Buenos Aires to
get a vivid idea of the vast commerce of this city. It is a scene that
cannot be duplicated even in New York with its far greater traffic. All
you can see along those docks is the lofty bow of an ocean greyhound
heaving up now and then above the dock-shed, as the tide ebbs and flows,
and each one looks very much like the other. Here in Buenos Aires they
stretch along the edges of the basins, funnel behind funnel, bridge
behind bridge, as far as one can see, until the vision is lost in a
veritable sea of masts. A splendid freighter just in from Europe and
loaded with champagne, automobiles and other luxuries may lie next to a
river boat just in from Paraguay and loaded with oranges and bananas.
Giant cranes are swinging, heaped-up trucks are constantly on the move
and men are carrying loads backward and forward. Here are vessels from
all the carrying nations of the world, flying the flags of Germany,
Italy, France, Great Britain, Spain and Austria, but the flag of the
United States is not visible. Out of the thousands of vessels which
entered this port last year, there were only four small ships that sailed
under the stars and stripes of Uncle Sam. Out in the river dozens of
boats may be seen anchored, for the freighters are oftentimes obliged to
wait three or four weeks before they can enter one of the basins and
discharge their cargo. Outside the vast warehouses, which are always
packed clear to the roofs, are scores of trucks and drays busily loading
or unloading, and conveying freight to and from the railroad freight
depots and the commission houses. And just beyond the line of drays is
the dock railroad, where the switch engines are busily engaged in shoving
cars backward and forward.

These immense docks, built only a few years ago, are already too small,
so rapidly has Buenos Aires grown. Although almost four hundred years
old, this city is as new as Chicago. For generations it remained only a
miserable collection of mud huts, with lots three miles deep that could
be purchased for an old, broken-down horse, or a second-hand suit of
clothes. When our Declaration of Independence was given to the world only
three thousand people lived on these mud flats now built up with great
structures. Then it began to grow slowly, until a half-century ago it
had reached a population of seventy-five thousand. Its greatest growth,
however, has been in the last twenty years. A quarter of a century ago
there was only a flat mudbar along the waterfront of Buenos Aires. Ships
were compelled to anchor several miles out in the river. Boxes, bales and
passengers were conveyed ashore in lighters and row-boats. High-wheeled
carts were then pushed out into the water so that passengers could land
without getting wet. Plans for a system of docks were then prepared by
an English engineer, which were completed at a cost of forty millions
of dollars. Five great basins were constructed which extended along
the river front for three miles. At that time, however, the tonnage of
this port was less than a million. Now it has reached ten millions, and
additional basins are absolutely necessary. A magnificent and commodious
custom house is now being built at a cost of a million and a half of
dollars to provide room for the large working force necessary to care for
this immense export and import trade.

It is as a town of pleasure, however, that the native Argentinian loves
to think of his capital. “Paris,” says he, “why, Paris and Buenos Aires
should not be mentioned in the same breath.” In his opinion Buenos Aires
has Paris beat to a “frazzle,” although that particular word has not yet
entered his vocabulary. This is the feature of the city that almost any
inhabitant will dwell upon whenever you meet him. In his opinion the
theatres cannot be equalled. He will tell you of the Casino, where the
best vaudeville acts of all Europe are played; and of La Escala, where
the singers follow each other in melancholy procession, each one dressed
in the same strapless bodice and stiff, bespangled skirt. One may sing
in French, another in Italian and still another in Spanish, but each one
wriggles her powdered shoulders and presses her hands to her heart in the
same pathetic way. The men smoke and stare, seldom applauding, and the
Argentine ladies—they give La Escala a wide berth.

[Illustration: “THEY FILE AROUND AND AROUND BETWEEN THE PALMS”]

Then there is the Jockey Club, with an entrance fee and annual dues
higher than any club in New York. Only native Argentinians can belong
to it, although the diplomats and a few other favoured foreigners
are given an honorary membership. There is an English Club which is
rather an exclusive organization, and a German Club which occupies a
fine new building. The Club de Residentes Estranjeros, or, as it is
generally called, the Strangers’ Club, is the one that appeals most to
the visitor, however, for a stranger will be given the courtesies of
the club for one month upon a simple introduction by a member. There
are at least fifty similar social organizations in Buenos Aires, for
the _Porteños_ are a hospitable and sociable people and love to mingle
together socially. The races are held on Sunday afternoons from twelve
o’clock to three. Outside the race track may be seen a long line of
carriages and automobiles drawn up along the curb. The instant the races
are over this line melts away and every vehicle wends its way toward
beautiful Palermo Park, where, joined by hundreds of other similar
vehicles, they file around and around between the palms and indulge
themselves in the passion of staring at everyone else. At five o’clock
on a Sunday afternoon, or on feast days, of which there are more than
thirty in the course of a year, the crowds are at their greatest. The
parade of vehicles is oftentimes three deep and would stretch out many
miles if placed one behind the other in a straight line. There are no
dark mantillas and no closed carriages to conceal the female occupants,
and it is a sight for the men. It is a procession of human upholstery
with expensive trappings, huge Parisian hats, expensive gowns and an
abundance of cosmetics. Side by side with rich turnouts plated with
silver and gold, magnificent horses and footmen as well as coachmen in
rich livery, may be seen men just in from the Camp dressed in their less
sophisticated clothes and riding in hired victorias, and the music-hall
singers with their overdressed air and ravishing smiles, which they
bestow with a generous freedom.

Calle Florida is the fashionable shopping street. In the late hours of
the afternoon the street is crowded with the shoppers and idlers, and
all traffic is excluded from the thoroughfare during those hours. Mamma
and her daughters, Juanita and Carmencita, are out to look at the pretty
things, the latter in their freshly starched skirts and bright-coloured
ribbons. Others, who have no shopping to do, invent some excuse for being
on Florida at that hour, and the young dandies stand on the corners,
twirling moustaches that turn up at an angle of forty-five degrees and
smoking the inevitable cigarette. When the witching hours of night have
come the crowds again appear. Calles Florida, Cangallo, Esmeralda, Cuyo,
Maipu and many others are brilliantly illuminated, for the theatres
and cafés are in that section, as well as the best restaurants, and
rathskellers, and these people certainly love to eat. There are many good
restaurants, of which the Sportsman is probably the most popular. Here
you may partake of almost any European dish—to say nothing of native
ones. In addition to music a free moving picture show is provided. To
obtain a seat at certain hours it is necessary to make arrangements
beforehand, for diners linger long at the table. The meal usually begins
with a dish of cold meats. Then comes a salad or the soup, together with
the appetizers. Fish and three or four kinds of meat then follow, ending
with a pastry or _dulce_ (sweet) of some kind. It is surprising to see
what a meal a thin Spaniard will put himself on the outside of, together
with a choice assortment of liquors, and seem no worse for the effort.

During my visit the “Merry Widow” was being played in three different
languages, French, Italian and Spanish, in as many different theatres.
The Teatro Colon is the largest opera house in South America and the
very best of opera is given there, a government subsidy being granted.
There are few of the world’s great artists who have not appeared here at
some time in their career. In no country in the world can better Italian
opera be heard. It will seat thousands of people, and it is always a
fashionably dressed audience. A thousand dollars for a season box is
readily paid by the nabob of Buenos Aires. Low-necked gowns for the women
and evening dress for the men predominate, and jewels by the peck may be
seen sparkling all over the audience. Nowhere can wealth and beauty be
seen in greater abundance.

There are almost as many Italians as those of Spanish birth in Buenos
Aires. If all the Italians in the city were gathered together into
one quarter they would make up a town as large as Genoa. Likewise the
“Spaniards from Spain,” who now live in Buenos Aires, would populate
a city larger than old Toledo. The British colony is probably next in
numbers, with the German a close rival and France following in the
rear. Americans do not cut much of a figure in numbers, for the North
American Society, recently organized, had great difficulty in locating
three hundred who claimed allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. And yet
this small but enthusiastic body agreed to furnish a statue of George
Washington, the father of liberty not only in our own land but in
all the Americas, to be erected in that city. The city government has
generously granted a site in one of the finest locations in the city.
It will be a pleasure to future visitors from the United States to see
the familiar likeness of our honoured hero gazing down at them with his
benevolent manner in this Latin city.

Buenos Aires is very much unlike our American cities. In the first place
there are no skyscrapers that lift their lofty roofs upward. The highest
building does not exceed six or seven stories in height. Then there are
miles upon miles of streets with buildings of one story predominating.
It is laid out in rectangular blocks, averaging about four hundred feet
on each side. The streets are narrow, and even in the residence sections
they are generally built clear up to the street line. These narrow
streets are a relic of the old days when this city was small and dormant.
Narrow thoroughfares then meant shaded walks, but shade at that time was
a more valuable asset than it is now in a hustling city. The principal
business streets, such as Florida, Cuyo, Cangallo, Bartolomé Mitre, San
Martin, 25th of May, etc., are only thirty-three feet wide, and you will
wonder how the traffic is managed. It is done in this wise. Street cars
and vehicles are only allowed to move one way. On the adjoining street
they will move in the opposite direction. It is surprising how this plan
helps to solve a serious problem of congestion. Cabs and automobiles dash
along with seeming disregard of human life, and yet few accidents result.
A uniformed policeman is stationed at each street intersection where
traffic is congested, and assists in the protection of foot passengers
and drivers. This police force made up of men with Indian blood in their
veins impresses the visitor as most efficient. There is now a law in
effect that no street shall be opened up in the future that is less than
sixty feet in width.

[Illustration: “THE BROAD AND IMPOSING AVENIDA DE MAYO”]

[Illustration: THE AVENIDA ALVEAR]

There is one exception to the narrow streets, and that is the broad and
imposing Avenida de Mayo, near the centre of the city. This street,
with its wide pavements and rows of trees, lined on either side by
hotels, fine stores and office buildings, reminds one of the famous
avenues of Paris. The open-air cafés, which line the broad sidewalks of
this avenue, only emphasize this resemblance and testify to the fact
that the old-world spirit is still alive in Buenos Aires. At one end
of the street is the Plaza de Mayo, at the far side of which is the
government building in which are the administration offices; and at the
other terminus, a mile away, is the Palace of Congress, which has just
been completed after thirteen years of building, and at a cost of eight
million dollars. With its great dome it gives a prospect very much like
that of the Capitol at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. The
cross streets all begin and end at Calle Rivadavia, just one block from
this avenue, for they have a different name on the two ends. One of the
streets in the city is called Estados Unidos, which is the Spanish for
United States. The Avenida Alvear, which leads out to Palermo, is another
striking street. The mansions which line it are interspersed with gardens
and plazas, and this broad avenue gains in beauty by this wealth of
verdure and flowers.

The people of this southern metropolis may put off until “to-morrow”
many things, after the manner of the Spanish people, but they do not
idle to-day. Everywhere it is work, work, work, and the people earn
their bread by the actual sweat of the brow. That is, all except the
wealthy _estancieros_, or plantation owners, who became wealthy by the
marvellous rise in the value of their lands. Many men bought a square
league of pampa land fifteen or twenty years ago for a few thousand
dollars, and it is now worth fifty dollars an acre. This enables them
to live in Buenos Aires in idleness and comparative luxury. Greater
opportunities, another climate and the virgin soil have instilled a
new life into bodies and brains. It is a mingling of the spirit of the
old world and the new which shapes the daily life of this city. The
term “effete,” so often applied to Latin nations, and the “proverbial
laziness” of Spaniard and Italian, so often referred to by writers,
does not apply here. From the shipping sections where boats, barges and
tugs throng in endless procession, from the flats on the river where
hundreds of acres have been reclaimed in recent years, to the business
section and the wide tree-planted avenues where the electric cars rush
out into the residence section, the traveller will observe nothing but
movement and effort, unceasing work and activity. In fact, were it not
for the difference in architecture, a warmer shade in the complexion of
the people, the sonorous consonants of the Castilian tongue, and the
fact that the passer-by who jostles you never fails to lift his hat and
apologize, the traveller might imagine himself in some unfamiliar part
of New York or Philadelphia. There are the same workmen laying asphalt
streets, the same gangs of builders and labourers tearing down buildings
and laying foundations for great business structures, or demolishing rows
of houses to make way for new avenues or squares. Everywhere the city is
expanding. It already covers an area four times as large as Manhattan
Island, three times larger than Berlin and more than twice that of Paris.

The Spanish people love the beautiful, and that same trait is observed in
Argentina. There are many beautiful plazas in Buenos Aires, as well as
several free public parks and gardens. In all there are seventy-two of
these artistic recreation spaces where the “good airs” of the city can be
enjoyed by the population. The finest park is magnificent Palmermo with
its rich vegetation, which is a half-hour’s ride from the centre of the
city. This park is a breathing-place and recreation-ground of which any
city might be proud. Although it is below the tropics, yet some species
of the palm thrive here, and the vegetation is more luxuriant and much
different from that of the latitude of New York or Chicago. The principal
sporting and play grounds are all near this park. Through it runs a
broad boulevard which leads out to Belgrano, the fashionable suburb of
the capital. In this suburb, as well as in the city proper, there are
many magnificent private homes, which are veritable palaces. In the
older part of the city the courtyard, or _patio_, so typical of Spanish
architecture, may be seen. The glimpse of the foliage and blossom that it
reveals is decidedly refreshing. In the later buildings, sad to say, the
_patio_ has disappeared, for the increased value of space seems to forbid
this luxury. The network of bars at the windows has likewise vanished.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE PALATIAL HOMES OF BUENOS AIRES]

The city offers a prize each year for the handsomest structure that is
erected, the awarding of which is in the hands of a regularly organized
commission. In addition to the reward, which goes to the architect, the
owner is exempted from taxes for a certain period, and is reimbursed
out of the city’s funds for whatever sums he has expended in creating
a street front of artistic character. Buenos Aires owes very little of
its beauty to nature. Lest some inharmonious advertising should mar
the scene the municipality has taken control of all out-of-door display
advertising. No poster can be placed on wall or fence unless it passes
muster with the official in charge of this work. The height of a building
must have a fixed relation to the width of the street, in order to
preserve the light and air. Less than two decades ago the space occupied
by the docks was a marshy strip of ground. Now a broad park called the
Paseo Cristobal Colon (Columbus) has been laid out and planted with trees
and shrubbery. Built upon a site with no natural beauty, so much more
credit is due the landscape artists who have transformed this dreary spot.

The markets of Buenos Aires are interesting places to visit. The best
hour to visit them is very early in the morning, for everything is astir
at that time and all the supplies may be seen in their abundance. As
early as four o’clock all is bustle and life. The throng is so great that
it is oftentimes with difficulty that one can thread his way through the
busy crowd of buyers, sellers and porters. The markets are not especially
beautiful but they have a wholesome cleanliness. The most striking
feature is the overflowing quantities of everything. Eggs are there by
the thousands of dozens, vegetables by the van-load, meat by the ton and
fruit by the car-load. The contents of a whole orchard may be seen at
a glance. One could fill his house with the fine peaches and pears and
scarcely see any diminution in the supply. These two fruits, together
with the Mendoza grape, are the finest kinds. It used to be that one
could buy a week’s supply of vegetables for a small sum, and meat for
almost a song, but prices, except for meats, are now almost as high as in
our own city markets. A noisy, bustling, motley crowd of people of all
sizes and colours fill the aisles. Buxom cooks, pretty Italian girls and
vendors with their enormous baskets jostle against each other. To watch
the bantering is a source of endless amusement.

[Illustration: “COWS ARE BROUGHT TO THE DOOR”]

“You are a thief, as every one knows,” says the market woman. “Oh,
Señora, only an angel like you could say such things,” replies the
merchant. And thus they go on passing similar compliments without either
one losing his or her temper until a bargain is finally struck. The
vendors, however, do not unduly urge, and apparently do not seem to care
whether you buy or not. There seems to be no standard of value. In the
late afternoon meat may be purchased very cheap, as the law requires all
meat to be sold the same day on which it is killed. The butchers go out
to the municipal slaughtering houses very early in the morning and kill
as many animals as they think they can sell that day.

Those who do not find it convenient to come to the market are supplied
by the vendors, who carry fruits and vegetables from door to door. Their
supplies are carried in baskets which are suspended on poles swung across
the shoulders. The air is filled with the cries of these picturesque
peripatetic merchants, of the scissors-grinders and the dealer in
notions, most of whom are Italians. In the morning and evening cows are
brought to the door and milk drawn direct from nature’s reservoirs in any
quantity desired. The tinkle of a bell is the herald of the milkman’s
approach, and the doors open as the good housewife or maid appears with
pitcher in hand. Donkey’s milk is also delivered in the same way, and its
use is often preferred for the feeding of infants.

The capital of Argentina is more like an American city than any other
city of South America. The architecture is entirely dissimilar, but
the movement on the streets, the arrangement of the stores, and the
general bearing of the people bears a marked resemblance. They like to
be called the Yankees of South America, for that term signifies energy,
resourcefulness and progressiveness. They are deserving of the term too.
They are less strenuous than Americans, for they love holidays and enter
heartily into the holiday spirit whenever the occasion permits. In that
way they seem to get a great deal of pleasure out of life, perhaps more
than many of our intensely absorbed, overworked business men.

[Illustration: THE RICOLETA CEMETERY]

It is not a city one need hesitate to visit. All the creature comforts
may be had. There are good physicians, good hospitals, good schools and
the other advantages of populated centres in either the United States or
Europe. There are no less than sixteen hospitals in the city, most of
which are maintained either by the municipal or federal government. The
British Hospital is an admirable institution, and is the one generally
patronized by the Americans, for it has a staff of very able physicians.
There are also numerous asylums for various unfortunates, foundlings’
homes, orphanages, etc., of a very high character. Electric street cars,
which carried one hundred and twenty-five million passengers last year,
run in every direction, and splendid trains convey passengers to almost
every part of the republic. Carriages of all kinds and taxicabs remind
one of New York and London. Hotels and restaurants abound on every hand.
A visit to this southern metropolis opens one’s eyes to the fact that
South America is forging ahead at a much more rapid pace than we have
ever dreamed.

One of the finest cemeteries of the world is the Ricoleta Cemetery, the
fashionable burying place of Buenos Aires. As one enters its appearance
is that of a marble and granite city, with small palaces on either side,
and narrow streets which are paved the same as the streets of a city.
These small palaces are vaults within which the mortal remains of the
departed are buried. They are of all sizes and conditions, from small to
massive, and from the grand to the unpretentious. Some are the palaces
of the rich and others the humble tenements of the poor. A few of these
vaults contain hundreds of bodies. All have but one room that can be
seen as you enter, and this room is rather furnished as a chapel of the
dead, and is not, as a rule, very large. The entrance to the tomb is by a
door almost at the level of the street. Sometimes a marble slab in this
room may contain the sarcophagus of some distinguished member of the
family, but in general this small room is only the entrance to the vault
underneath, which contains the bodies. One will generally find this small
room filled with flowers, real or artificial, and bouquets are oftentimes
placed there at intervals of only a few days. The outside doors of this
mausoleum are often of plate glass, furnished with locks, and many of
them have lace curtains and gratings of iron curiously wrought. In the
vault underneath the coffins are placed on shelves, one above another
in niches which have been provided and then cemented in. Although this
cemetery is not large it contains, so it is said, about two hundred and
fifty thousand inhabitants.

One of the oddest customs in Buenos Aires is that relating to funerals
and the burial of the dead. In this city funerals are great functions
and the average burial is a very expensive affair. The undertakers
advertise their business much as merchants advertise their dry goods.
Each one will state how much more he will furnish for his money than his
competitor, and praise the caskets which he will furnish and style in
which he will conduct the funeral. These are provided in first, second
and third class. A first-class funeral is a very imposing occasion. The
hearses provided are the most ornate I have ever seen. They are always
black, drawn by black horses, and the woodwork is made of carved ebony
in very intricate design. Coachmen and footmen, both in the same sombre
black livery, are provided, and many coaches follow the hearse, also
provided with a coachman in mourning dress. Then again the newspapers
will be filled with advertisements of families giving an invitation to
their friends to be present at the funeral, also announcing the masses
which are given from year to year on the anniversary of the funeral,
and inviting their friends to be present at this solemn service. At the
church servants will be posted at the door to receive the cards of those
who go in, or those who send their regrets, the same as they would at
any other social occasion. By scanning the papers the Argentinians keep
track of the masses said for their friends. The Argentinians are very
respectful toward funerals, and every one will reverently bare his head
as a cortege passes by.

The expense of conducting the business of this great city runs into
big figures. For the year 1909 the total sum was about thirty million
dollars, but the resources were in excess of this amount. In addition
to some property tax there are many special imposts, such as tax on
advertising permits, building permits, slaughterhouses, markets,
cemeteries, street cars, carriages, etc. The national lottery pays a
certain proportion of its receipts into the municipal coffers, and the
race courses also contribute. The liquor license is small, and as a
result the number of such establishments where intoxicants are sold
is very large, although saloons or bars after the American or English
fashion are found only in the business districts. _Lecherias_, or milk
shops, are very numerous, and thousands of gallons of milk are sold over
the counters by the glass. Frozen milk takes the place of ice cream at
these establishments, which are very neat and cleanly. The police force
numbers nearly five thousand, or about one to every two hundred and forty
persons. The fire department has numerous stations and is well organized.
There are both a national and a municipal department of hygiene, which
have control over all municipal sanitation. The efficient work of these
organizations has brought down the death rate to where it will compare
very favourably with the other large cities of the world.

The water supply and sewer system of the capital are likewise under the
direction of the national government. Few cities of the world have a
better service. The water is taken from the La Plata River far enough up
to avoid any chance of pollution. It is obtained from wells which are
driven beneath the bottom of the river, and the water is pumped through
tunnels to a central station. Here it is filtered and then distributed
to all sections of the city. The central reservoir, called the Aguas
Corrientes, is in the heart of the city. With its imposing brick and
terra cotta facing on every side, it looks like a magnificent palace,
and so I thought it at first sight. Inside, however, it consists only
of immense tanks from which the water gravitates over the city. This
shell constructed for the water tanks cost the municipality almost a
million dollars, and it is all done for the sole purpose of adding to the
artistic beauty of the capital.



CHAPTER III

THE CAMP


The flat pampas, or plains, which constitute almost ninety per cent. of
the Argentine Republic that is suitable for agriculture and pasture, are
generally called the Camp. The name is derived from the Spanish word
_campo_, which means country. The Camp is the mainspring of Argentine
prosperity. The marble palace of the millionaire, as well as the mud
hovel of the immigrant, has to thank this rich soil of the _campo_ for
its foundation. It is upon this land that the republic has grown and
prospered. Its eccentricities and its products are watched with all
the anxiety usually lavished upon a baby by anxious parents; and it is
a pretty big infant, for the Camp comprises millions upon millions of
fertile acres.

The Camp is a vast plain. It spreads its smooth, unbroken surface for
hundreds of miles, with no natural hillock higher than those which the
termite ants have erected, and no depression more marked than those
which the huge cart-wheels have cut in the loose surface soil. It
can best be characterized as an ocean of land, spreading out like an
unruffled sea from horizon to horizon. Here and there, in the distance,
objects may seem to arise out of this vast expanse like little islands at
sea, and the illusion at times seems almost perfect. A nearer approach,
however, shows them to be the buildings of an _estancia_, or a grove
of trees. Even the groves did not exist before the hand of man altered
the landscape, for the plains of Argentina were unblessed by any forest
growth whatsoever—with the single exception of the rare ombu tree,
specimens of which might be met with at intervals of several miles.
Spots, which at a distance appear as dark lumps, finally shape themselves
into humble structures of black mud, which are the homes of colonists.
Their sombre and unattractive exterior may be relieved by the flaming
red or vivid blue dress of an Italian girl, which makes a welcome bit of
colour under the circumstances. The dust clouds in the distance will be
found to be floating behind horses’ hoofs, or the wheels of a cumbersome
wagon drawn by several yokes of oxen. These clouds move onward across
the pampa much as the black smoke trails behind a slow-moving steamer.

These vast stretches of level land may produce a certain sense of
irritation upon one newly arrived in Argentina. He may ride for league
upon league on his horse, or travel for hour after hour by train,
awaiting that change of scenery, which his experience leads him to
believe will inevitably occur. He might start in the centre of the
republic and travel for scores of leagues east, west, north or south, and
find the same unending monotony. But there is, nevertheless, a certain
fascination about this very vastness of the Camp which grows upon one;
in these leagues upon leagues of rich soil, which here spread themselves
in readiness to receive the seed from the hand of the farmer, and to
yield forth an abounding harvest in return for the labour bestowed.
Upon these plains one may watch the herds of cattle and the flocks of
the sheep which are scattered clear to the limit of one’s vision, a
distance so great that the largest animals stand out as mere specks
against the sky. One may travel through miles of the golden grain ready
for the sickles of the reaper, and then will come upon an equal stretch
of flax in flower, which gives the fields a bluish tint. Interspersed
with the wheat and flax may be seen the green corn and the purple of the
alfalfa blossom. These broad patches follow one another in almost endless
succession. Although one’s horizon is at all times limited, he knows
that, in whatever direction he looks, that which lies beyond is an exact
repetition of what is stretched out before his eyes.

[Illustration: “AGRICULTURE HAS SPREAD FAR AND WIDE”]

Agriculture has spread far and wide in Argentina in the last two decades.
Its forces are moving ever westward and southward, driving the “squatter”
ever farther and farther afield. It has already crossed the boundaries of
what was once known as Patagonia, no man’s land. Wire fences now enclose
the lands which once were the scenes of settlers’ battles and boundary
disputes. Grains and alfalfa have replaced the coarse natural grass,
which was indigenous to these plains. Groves of willow, eucalyptus and
poplar have been planted in the older sections of the Camp and make a
diversion in the landscape. The picturesque windmill, made in the United
States, is a familiar landmark on the horizon almost everywhere, for it
is necessary to pump all the water during the greater part of the year.

The Camp has never been divided into homesteads. The most of it is owned
by the _estancieros_, whose holdings are estimated by the square league,
almost six thousand acres. A man with only one square league is a small
farmer, and there are many estates of five and ten square leagues. Many
of these were purchased for a mere pittance twenty years ago, and the
rise in value has made the owner a wealthy man, so that he can live in
Buenos Aires a part of the year in luxury, or take a trip to Europe each
year, as many of them do.

Formerly Argentina was almost entirely a pastoral country. Millions of
cattle and sheep wandered over these plains and fed on the rich herbage.
The amount of land devoted to stock grazing has been reduced, but the
quick-growing alfalfa furnishes more pasture to the acre. At the present
time there are thirty million cattle, sixty-seven million sheep, seven
million, five hundred thousand horses and mules in the republic, which
is a very respectable showing, and places Argentina as one of the most
important stock-raising countries in the world. They are very fine stock
too. It was the care of the stock that gave rise to the “gaucho,” the
cowboy of South America, and it was this character that gave romance and
local colour to the Camp.

[Illustration: THRESHING GRAIN ON AN ESTANCIA]

As a grain-raising country Argentina has advanced by leaps and bounds. At
the present time it is the greatest flax-raising country in the world,
and our own linseed oil mills have been obliged to import seed from there
during the past two years. It is second only to the United States and
Russia in the production of wheat, and in some years has exported more
than our own land. At the stations one will sometimes see mountains of
wheat bags awaiting shipment to the ports, where hundreds of vessels
are ready to carry this grain to the hungering millions of Europe. The
threshing outfits move ponderously from one _estancia_ to another, doing
the entire work of harvesting on a percentage basis, usually one sack
out of every three. Some of them are pulled by oxen or mules, and others
are run by traction power. These processions move across the plains in
imposing fashion. The huge stacks commence to rise in twos and threes
like giant mushrooms, until the landscape is dotted with them. Then
strings of wagons, laden to the brim, carry the wheat to the warehouses,
which open wide their doors to receive this valuable product of the
soil. The stacks must be made very secure, for the winds sweep over these
plains with almost incredible velocity.

[Illustration: “NOT A HANDSOME STRUCTURE, BUT ... RATHER STRIKING”]

Italians have flocked to Argentina by the hundreds of thousands. They
have become the most important asset of the agriculturist. The colonist
is usually allotted a certain number of acres, which he cultivates on a
fixed share. Perhaps the landlord reserves as his portion one bag out
of every ten of grain. The colonist is given the bare land, and must
provide his own dwelling. But that is a simple matter. Rough boards are
made into a mould, similar to that prepared for the pouring of cement,
into which mud mixed with straw is placed. When this has dried the
boards are removed, and the wall of the house is finished. Spaces for
doors and windows are then cut out, a roof placed over it, and the house
is ready for occupancy. Or this mud may be cut into bricks, which are
allowed to dry in the sun and then laid up into walls. A roof of thatch
made of coarse grasses is generally used. From an artistic standpoint
the result is not a handsome structure, but it is rather striking. The
black mud walls are sombre and commonplace, and even the best of them is
scarcely more than a hovel. There is reason, however, for this economy
in the construction of a house, as the colonist may be obliged to move
to another section of the plantation in two or three years, or even to
another plantation, when it will be necessary to build another home.
The frugal Italian during these years is no doubt sending money back to
Italy, or depositing it in a bank in a neighbouring town. Many of them,
after a few years, tiring of the mud walls and ceaseless work, go back to
their beloved Italy, where the few thousands saved make them veritable
capitalists among their friends and neighbours.

The _estanciero’s_ life is a rather lonely one, for his neighbours are
few and far between. If he is an Englishman or Scotchman, as many of them
are, you will find the British atmosphere all about. There will be tennis
courts, cricket grounds, and, perhaps, a golf course where the family and
their friends will find recreation. Pheasant hatcheries are sometimes
maintained, and these birds and the long-eared rabbits, which are very
plentiful, furnish the shooting so popular with the British sportsman.
The Camp store, however, is the centre of life on the _estancia_. It is
the post office and the general place of rendezvous. There are heaps of
padlocks and nails, stacks of lamps and coils of wire. Beside quaintly
carved native saddles will be fierce-looking knives a foot or more in
length, which peacefully repose in bright new leather sheaths. Boots that
might have graced a cavalier of old jostle against bottles of patent
medicine guaranteed to cure every ill to which human flesh is heir.
Business is never done in haste. The gaucho measures time by the progress
of the sun, and an odd half hour or so never bothers him. There is always
a little time for gossip before and after the purchase has been made, and
then there must be a drink for friendship’s sake.

Drouths come sometimes, and the locusts, to break in upon the prosperity
of both colonist and _estanciero_. But there is seldom an absolute
failure. The locusts are present almost every year, and it is a
constantly recurring fight against the scourge of these pests.

The real development of the live stock industry in Argentina began with
the discovery that meat could be frozen and shipped any distance. Since
that time the growth has been almost phenomenal. It used to be that
long-horned, rakish, bony _criollos_ (native stock) wandered over the
pampas feeding on the succulent grasses, and dying by the thousands
during a season of drouth. Now the sleek short-horned stock have taken
their places, and they fatten upon the rich alfalfa pastures which have
been sown by the planter. This plant roots so deep that it will remain
green in drouths that would cause the native grass to become dry and
dead. Fine sheep have superseded the scrubby animals that once stalked
the plains; and even the horse has acquired finer legs and shoulders,
and developed a more graceful arch to his neck. Indeed, it may be said
that the average stock in Argentina will compare favourably with those
of any other nation on the globe. The change has been brought about by
the importation of the very best breeding stock from Europe, which have
formed the nuclei for the present herds.

The Durham, Hereford and polled Angus are the chief grades of cattle that
one will find. In one section of the country one breed will predominate,
and a few leagues away another will prevail almost exclusively. Cattle
are always sold at so much a head, and never by weight. “Do you never
weigh them?” I asked of an _estanciero_. “Oh, yes, we weigh a few
so that we have an idea of the general average.” In the transaction,
however, between him and the buyer, weight is never mentioned. The buyer
will look over the bunch for sale and offer a stated figure, which may
or may not be accepted. They are then delivered to him at a given point,
and shipped to the stockyards in Buenos Aires, or to one of the many
slaughterhouses in the republic. The number of stock to be kept is a
serious problem for the proprietor. More than one _estanciero_ has been
ruined by overstocking his _estancia_, and then, either locusts or the
drouth coming, he was left without feed for his animals.

The cattle dip is a very necessary adjunct to every stock farm. The
idea was adopted from Australia, where the cattle raisers had similar
experience with the tick fever. It consists of a wide yard which
gradually narrows into a lane wide enough for only one animal. When the
animal is driven forward it faces a lengthy tank which it is necessary to
ford. This tank is filled with a medicated solution and, as the animal
swims through it, men with poles push them entirely under. The animal
does not enjoy swimming through this nauseous, badly-tasting mixture, but
he has no option, so, shutting his mouth tightly, he flounders through
in the best way possible. It is rather a sorry looking creature, however,
that emerges on the other side. Another form of dipping cattle is a cage
into which an animal is driven, and this is submerged in a tank filled
with this medicated solution. Either method accomplishes the desired
result, which is to give the cattle a thorough saturation that will kill
the tick.

Second in importance comes sheep. Although they abound all over the
republic they are found in greatest numbers in the southern provinces.
The development of these animals has been studied a great deal lately and
scientific methods have been introduced. The finest of rams have been
imported in order to improve the breed and the former coarse wool is now
being replaced by a much finer quality. The Argentine merinos will now
rank with those from any part of the world. One will find Leicesters,
Oxfords, Black-faced Downs and all the other fine breeds. A number of
New Zealand ranchers have come to Argentina in recent years, and they
have been especially successful in sheep raising. The breeds have been
bettered, and foot-rot as well as other diseases combated with so that
the results have been very beneficial to the industry.

Sheep farming in Argentina is an old industry. The number of sheep has
grown until there are now at least ten for each man, woman and child in
the republic. How many sheep the pampas can support is hardly known,
but it would be several times the present number. Where there is plenty
of rain an acre will support three or four head, and at other places
it would be safer to keep three or four acres for each sheep. In the
Buenos Aires province the best ranchers place about six hundred sheep
to each square mile. The sheep farming is all conducted on a big scale,
and there are few small flocks. The most of the flocks range from ten
thousand to seventy-five thousand, with some possibly several times the
latter number. The sheep are watched on the open pampas by shepherds on
horseback, each having the care of a fixed number. It is the shepherd’s
duty to see that the flocks do not mingle, and to keep them free from
disease. For this work they receive a stated sum monthly, which would not
be considered large in the United States.

Formerly the sheep were raised for the wool, pelts and tallow only. Even
then they were profitable. The carcasses were even used for fuel. Now,
with the development of the frozen meat industry, this meat feeds the
mutton-eaters of England. Hundreds and thousands of tons of frozen mutton
are shipped down the La Plata every month. It is frozen so stiff that it
will keep for months and be as palatable as freshly slaughtered meat. The
slaughtering establishments are mostly located along the Paraná River,
between Buenos Aires and Rosario. Acres upon acres are covered with sheep
pens, slaughtering houses and freezing establishments. The frozen carcass
is sewed up in fine white muslin cloths, and then laid away to await the
next steamer, whose hold will be filled with these ghostly bundles. The
wool is sent to the great wool market in Buenos Aires. Each man’s wool
is placed in a pile by itself, all unwashed, and so brings a low price
because of the weight of the grease in it, for wool will lose almost half
its weight in washing. The Argentine farmer prefers to sell it at the
lower rate and allow the European or American buyers to clean it.

The lambing and shearing seasons are the two busiest and most anxious
seasons for the sheep raiser. A good lambing season will almost
double the flock, so prolific do they become. Sheep shearing used to
be done almost entirely by hand, but nearly all the big ranches now
have sheep-shearing machines driven by steam or gasoline power. Still,
whether done by hand in the old way or by machines in the modern way,
sheep shearing is arduous work. The shearers often go about in bands from
ranch to ranch. The quickness and skill of some of the shearers borders
almost on the marvellous. One hundred sheep daily is a fair average for
good shearers, but some exceptionally expert operators can double that
score. A great deal of care has to be exercised to clip the wool as close
as possible, and still leave the animal uninjured. A shearer who could
not practise his business without badly cutting the sheep would soon be
discharged as incompetent. The poor animals have to put up with a few
scratches and cuts, but it is seldom that one is severely injured. The
amount of wool and mutton sent out from these sheep ranches is almost
incredible. An especially fine quality of wool is produced on the great
ranches of Patagonia, one of which is larger than the state of Rhode
Island.

[Illustration: A HERD OF HALF-WILD HORSES]

Horses are also raised in great numbers in Argentina. One who sees the
fine draught horses in Buenos Aires need not be told that Argentine
horses are of good breed and quality. The average Argentinian thinks that
he knows more about a horse than anything else. Pedigreed stallions have
been imported by the hundreds, and the very best blood has been brought
in. One will find as good horses in Argentina as anywhere. They are
generally well taken care of, too, for lean and skinny horses are very
rare. During the Boer-English war fortunes were made out of horses, for
the British government bought thousands of head and paid fancy prices.
They were beaten, too, in many a bargain by the shrewd _estancieros_. Pig
breeding has not been developed much as yet, although considerable stride
has been made in some sections, but the export of pork does not amount
to any considerable sum. Great hopes are, however, entertained by the
Argentinians for this industry also.

All agriculture is on a gigantic scale. The rapid development has been
a surprise to even the most hopeful _estanciero_. Railways have, in
many instances, been almost unable to cope with some of the crops, and
trains have been run night and day to carry the grain to the exporting
centres. The wheat accumulates at the shipping points until vast stacks
are piled up at the various stations in the wheat lands. One company’s
cars cannot run over another company’s tracks, and this further adds to
the congestion. The wheat is carried to the stations on huge carts with
wheels eight feet high and drawn by from ten to a dozen oxen. A load of
several tons may be balanced between these two lofty wheels. As the carts
move forward they are accompanied by an awful screeching noise which
is ear-splitting. The carter does not care to use grease, as he says
that the noise encourages the oxen. The cry goes up each year for more
labourers to care for the crops, and the need still exists. Because of
the lack of elevators and granaries the grain must be quickly gathered
and threshed. Women and girls, men and boys all work from early morning
until late at night for the few harvest weeks. The grains are generally
more profitable than stock, and in some districts have crowded the latter
out. Corn is one of the most profitable crops at the present time.

[Illustration: “THE HARVESTING MACHINES ARE USUALLY PROPELLED FROM THE
REAR”]

During the harvest time the Camp is a busy place. Clouds of dust all over
the horizon denote activity in the grain fields. Managers and overseers
are kept busy riding from one group to another. Thousands of Italians
come over for the harvests and then return to their native land. The
harvesting machines are usually propelled from the rear, either by steam
power or animals. Attached to the side of the “strippers,” which simply
cut off the heads of the grain, is a large harvest cart into which the
grain drops. Four roads will be cut from a central point at right angles
to each other, which run to the outer edge of the wheat field. In the
central point the oblong stacks are formed. By this system the fields
of golden grain rapidly disappear before the onslaughts of the cutting
machines.

Thirty years ago Argentina was a wheat-importing nation. Some of the
knowing ones said wheat could not be successfully grown on the pampas.
Since then the grain-producing area has been increased each year and
the beginning of the end is not yet in sight. At first it was thought
that only the land between the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers was available,
but now it has spread south into Patagonia and west to the Andes. The
available wheat land has been estimated at more than 200,000,000 acres,
of which only a small per cent. is at present under cultivation. This
wheat land is mostly a rich black loam, from a few inches to three feet
or more deep, surmounting a subsoil of clay.

There are few rivers or lakes on the Camp and there is little surface
water. The old-fashioned wells sunk very deep in the ground, in which the
buckets are raised by horse power, are still quite common. Windmills of
American make add a picturesqueness to the landscape. Ponds are banked
up into which the water is pumped, and from them the troughs are filled.
These wells seldom go dry even in the severe drouths in that land.

The midday siesta is almost universal in the Camp, for the sun beats
down unmercifully hot for a few hours. The languor of these hours is
all-pervading. Stock huddle together and put their heads in the shadow of
the bodies of the others. The mosquito is very much at home on the Camp
and sometimes makes the nights unappreciated.

[Illustration: A GAUCHO AND HIS WIFE ON AN OUTING]

One fearful disease is the anthrax, which is taken from cattle. The first
symptom is a red mark on the skin, which is irritating. If unattended to
this will develop into a blue boil surrounded by little blisters. After a
while the sensitiveness disappears and no pain is felt. The blue is more
pronounced and a full-fledged case of anthrax is developed. Something
must be done promptly. The common treatment, when no surgeon is near,
is to heat a wire red hot and burn out the infected spot clean from the
surrounding flesh. This is a decidedly painful operation when performed
without anæsthetics, and requires a remarkable degree of stoicism. The
affected spot is absolutely without feeling. If this or another effective
operation is not performed by the third day the chance of recovery is
very slight, it is said. The gauchos are the principal sufferers.

Like his counterpart, the cowboy of the western plains, the gaucho is
a unique character, and his individuality is probably the result of
his environment and the life he has led. The freedom of the plains and
lack of refining society have made him a man with a rough exterior
which, however, oftentimes clothes a tender human heart. The gaucho of
Argentina is generally of mixed blood. The blood may have become mixed
centuries back, when the first Spaniards came to this country, but it
still shows in his swarthy features. For centuries these people have
lived an easy-going, care-free existence on the great plains of that
republic. If there is one thing the gaucho loves, it is his freedom, and
it is difficult to accustom him to the restraint that becomes necessary
as development and private ownership proceed. In the centuries past
the gauchos have always been engaged in the wars and revolutions which
were common. The side they fought on did not matter much, for it was
victory only that was sought. When there were no public disturbances to
furnish excitement, they got up feuds on their own account, and fought
each other. The Camp is full of tales of the gauchos and their deeds or
misdeeds, many of which savour of real knight-errantry. It is these tales
that has given the Argentinian plains an individuality. The old-time
lawless gaucho has generally disappeared in the march of civilization,
but the modified character remains and works for the ranch owner. Many of
them have intermarried with the Italian and Spanish colonists who have
migrated there. The railroad has perhaps been the greatest enemy of the
gaucho, just as it was of the cowboy on our own western plains, because
settlers have everywhere followed the iron horse.

The costume of the gaucho has not changed. It still consists of a broad
sombrero, a shirt and the _bombachos_—wide Turkish trousers that range in
colour from black to snow-white, and which fall to just above the ankle,
where they are enclosed in a pair of tight-fitting boots. The _poncho_, a
blanket which is placed over the shoulders in cool weather, varies from
the most sombre hues to the boldest colours—brown and black to brilliant
scarlet or purple. The effect of such a brilliantly-clothed apparition
coming upon you unawares in a remote district can better be imagined than
described. A great broad knife is almost invariably stuck in the belt,
many of them a foot in length and of fantastic pattern. It is generally
encased in a leathern, but sometimes in a metal, scabbard. This knife
is intended not only for defence, but it is his principal aid in eating
lunches out on the Camp. His favourite food is _asado con cuero_, beef
roasted over the fire without removing the hide, and he is an expert in
preparing this luxury. Dressed in all his finery, and mounted upon a
saddle inlaid and ornamented with silver as many are, with fancy stirrups
and huge clanking spurs, the South American gaucho is a sight worthy to
behold.

The gaucho is a born horseman. From earliest childhood he has been
accustomed to a horse’s back. Before his legs are long enough to reach
the stirrups of a saddle the gaucho rides bareback, and an occasional
tumble does not seem to be minded, for they are determined to ride.
Caution or fear concerning horses is not known among them—such sentiments
are altogether incomprehensible to their understanding. I have seen
contests between the gauchos and American cowboys in Buenos Aires, and,
although the latter are quicker in saddling and mounting a pony, they
cannot stick on a bucking broncho any better than the former.

[Illustration: GAUCHOS BRANDING CATTLE]

The gaucho is a rather taciturn individual, and is not given to
many words. At the same time he is easily offended if any sense of
superiority is shown. He may not show resentment on the surface, but
a volcano may rage underneath a placid and immobile countenance. If
there is, in his opinion, sufficient provocation, he will probably bide
his time for revenge and await it patiently. It is not always done in
the open, either, since he does not want a chance for failure. If he
likes his employer his devotion is admirable, and he will serve with a
commendable faithfulness. When roused by liquor the gaucho is often very
troublesome, and then it is that he starts out to avenge real or fancied
slights, and he sometimes commits serious crimes. Money does not appeal
to the gaucho in a strong sense, and crimes as a rule are not committed
for that purpose, but they are to avenge slights or real wrongs for which
he thinks personal reprisal is the only adequate remedy. To requite a
wrong with him is a point of honour. The gauchos are natural gamblers
and, besides ordinary games of the Camp, there is scarcely anything that
is not made the subject of wagering, and the average gaucho’s money
soon disappears. It is doubtful whether education will make the gaucho
a more efficient ranch hand, though it will make him a better and more
intelligent citizen of a republic.

The work of the gaucho is generally confined to the care of stock, of
which such vast herds swarm the pampas in almost every direction. The
mustering of cattle in Argentina is called a “rodeo.” Viewed from a
distance, one will see a line strongly marked wind its way over the level
plain, with a dust cloud hanging over it, which is visible long before
the animals come in view. As the armies of red, white and dun animals
approach nearer one will see the picturesque gauchos riding here and
there like officers of an army bearing commands.

When the place of rendezvous has been reached the cattle are kept
tramping around a central point, as they are not near so likely to get
frightened or stampeded if kept on the move. When the inspection or count
is ended, the different herds are gradually separated by the gauchos and
driven back to the feeding grounds. If a count is intended a line is
formed through which the cattle are driven, and the cattle are numbered
as they pass through the line. This is sometimes a difficult operation,
and especially is it so if they aim to divide the herd into two or more
bodies. One animal is driven to the right, another to the left and so on.
This sometimes leads to a great deal of excitement and confusion among
the cattle, and stampedes are easy to happen under such circumstances.
Stockyards have been built on many ranches, where a narrow passage is
constructed through which only one animal is able to pass at a time. This
greatly simplifies the counting or dividing process. Furthermore, there
is less danger of the animals injuring each other in their excitement.
The gauchos are clever with the lasso, but cannot equal the American
cowboy with that rope. Altogether the gaucho is a very useful and a very
necessary man on the cattle _estancias_ of Argentina, and his services
are generally appreciated.



CHAPTER IV

THE RIVER OF SILVER


The Rio de la Plata, the “river of silver,” is one of the great river
systems of the world. That name is properly applied only to the month of
the system, which reaches just a little above the city of Buenos Aires,
a distance of a couple of hundred miles from the Atlantic. From there it
receives the name of the Paraná, which has its source in the wilds of
Brazil. Where it pours its waters into the ocean this wonderful river is
one hundred and eighty miles in width, and at Montevideo it has narrowed
down to sixty-five miles. Opposite Buenos Aires it is still twenty-eight
miles from shore to shore. The La Plata, as it is generally called,
discharges the water from a basin much larger than the Mississippi, and
the volume of water brought down by it is said to be exceeded only by the
Amazon. It drains the greater part of the fertile pampas, reaches up into
the coffee lands of Brazil, and carries down to the Atlantic the melted
snows of the loftiest peaks of the Andes. The basin is in the shape of an
immense horseshoe, and includes, besides the two above counties, all of
Paraguay and parts of Bolivia and Uruguay.

The Uruguay River, which flows into the La Plata almost opposite Buenos
Aires, is one thousand miles long and is navigable for several hundred
miles, the Paraná for almost two thousand miles, and the Paraguay, from
its junction with the latter stream, floats boats of shallow draft for
fifteen hundred miles farther. Altogether these various streams furnish
thousands of miles of navigable waters on which regular communication
is furnished by large and commodious steamers. Nicolas Mihanovitch is
the undisputed king of this river traffic, and dozens of vessels plying
on these rivers bear the white letter M. with a black background on the
funnel. They furnish a nightly service between Montevideo and Buenos
Aires, and weekly or semi-weekly service up the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers.

Vessels drawing sixteen feet of water can proceed as far as Rosario, but
ocean-going steamers seldom ascend any farther, as the water becomes
shallower beyond that city. Boats of twelve feet draught can proceed as
far as Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, eight hundred miles farther
inland. The waters carry much mud, and the channel sometimes changes its
course by the formation of mud banks. Hundreds of islands have formed,
some of which probably started from a submerged tree, about which the
sediment was deposited. In truth the Paraná plays with islands and sand
banks as a lesser stream does with pebbles. A recent scientific writer
has given some interesting facts concerning its eccentricities. Says he:
“A schooner which sank nine years ago off La Paz swiftly developed at its
tail an island a mile long, now crowned by willows. My photograph of the
old port of Paraná town in 1902 shows an island eight hundred and eighty
yards long by four hundred and ninety feet wide fronting it; in December,
1907, only one hundred and sixty feet of the island remained. Thirty
years ago a market gardener made a shallow ditch cut-off opposite Ibicuy
River (Lower Paraná), to take his produce down the river. The Paraná
elected to take his work in hand, and now ocean steamers pass through
this channel on their way down from Rosario.”

In the rainy season the Paraná spreads out for dozens of miles over
the level land and forms an inland sea so wide that the banks are
almost invisible. This flood season lasts for three months in the year,
generally from March to June. At this season the Paraguay pours a mass of
water twenty miles wide and twenty feet deep into the Paraná. Added to
this is the water of the Alta Paraná, and the Lower Paraná then spreads
itself out over the low lands of the western bank.

    “Shallow, disreputable, vast,
    It sprawls across the western plains,”

to use the words of Kipling. Because of the slight fall it takes three
weeks for the flood waters to flow from Asuncion, a thousand miles
upstream but only two hundred and three feet above sea level, to Buenos
Aires. It is estimated that this river brings down a cubic mile of soil
in twenty-two years. This soil is deposited on the western shore of the
La Plata, and, were it not for the work of man, would soon convert Buenos
Aires into a landlocked harbour. As it is, the dredging charges entailed
by this yearly increasing mass of deposit are very large.

In places the banks of the Paraná are lined with reeds and willows, but
farther up the trees become larger, and there is a forest growth. In one
place may be seen gigantic reeds twenty feet high, then a solitary palm
tree with a crest of fan-like leaves, and again a dense forest of various
growths may crown the bank. Gnarled trees with clusters of beautiful
crimson flowers occasionally add a contrast of colouring. Masses of weeds
and grass are continually floating by. One cannot help but think of the
voyage of Sebastian Cabot up this unexplored stream, in 1526. In a small
vessel of only a few hundred tons he ploughed through these waters,
avoided destruction on the islands, and ascended to a point above the
site of Asuncion. He was months in accomplishing that voyage, which is
now made twice a week in five days. It is not a hard trip, except that
the scenery becomes rather monotonous. Otherwise the accommodation is
quite good, the fare is cheap, and, as a rule, the cabins are comfortable
and are kept very clean.

By steamer it is nearly three hundred miles from Buenos Aires to
Rosario, the second city in the republic, and takes just about a whole
day. The great delta of the Paraná, just above the metropolis, is very
interesting, for it is studded with numerous islands. There are several
ports on the left bank where large _frigorificos_, meat-freezing plants,
are located, where vessels may be seen at the docks at all times waiting
for their loads of beef and mutton. The largest of these is at Campaña,
only fifty-one miles from Buenos Aires, where the River Plate Meat Co.
has its freezing works. At Zarate is the freezing plant of the Las Palmas
Produce Co., and at San Nicolas is another large _frigorifico_. At last
Rosario, which used to be an unimportant place, is reached, but that
designation would not answer for the hustling city of to-day.

Soon after leaving Rosario the river passes through the rich wheat belt,
with the province of Entre Rios on one side of the bank and Santa Fé on
the other. For a distance the banks of the Paraná are quite high on one
side, but they gradually become lower. At length the town of Paraná, a
city of twenty-five thousand inhabitants, and the capital of the province
of Entre Rios, is reached. It is the distributing point for quite a large
section of country and a shipping port for the products as well.

Opposite Paraná is the city of Santa Fé, capital of the province of the
same name, which is of about the same importance as its rival on the
other side of the river. The river leads up past La Paz and Esquma, at
which latter place the province of Corrientes is entered. The city of
Corrientes contains a population of about twenty thousand, and is a
distributing and shipping point for that province. It is not a pretty
city at all and has nothing to distinguish it. Here a change must be made
to boats of lighter draught, for there are rapids between this city and
Posadas that will not permit a draught of more than three feet in the dry
season. It is only about twenty miles to the junction of the Paraguay
River, and is two hundred and twenty-five miles from Corrientes to
Posadas, the capital of the territory of Misiones. It is the collecting
depot for the up-river trade above this point, and is a thriving little
city of about six thousand inhabitants.

The Paraná becomes grander and more picturesque the farther up one
ascends it. Its quiet picturesqueness grows upon the traveller. It is
hemmed in between the hills of Paraguay, on one side, and those of
Misiones on the other. Its width, hitherto anywhere from two to five
miles, suddenly shrinks to two-thirds of a mile, and its depth increases.
The well-wooded ranges of hills slope to a current running five knots
an hour. A graceful line of waving bamboo marks the mean height of the
river and is only broken by the many streams which come tumbling down.
You are travelling toward the equator, and the vegetation changes.
The trees become still larger, and the grass is more luxuriant. Many
varieties of palms make their appearance. A thousand miles from Rosario
is the junction with the Iguassú River, and a few miles from its mouth
are the famous falls of the same name. They are on the boundary line
between Brazil and Argentina, and only a few miles away from the border
of Paraguay. At some imaginary point on the broad Paraná, in the midst of
these vast solitudes, these three republics meet.

The Falls of the Iguassú, which here lie half concealed by the crowding
forests, are a worthy rival of Niagara. The scenery surrounding is, in
its lone loveliness, in harmony with the solemn grandeur of the cataract.
The roar of the waterfall is all the more impressive because of the
solitude that reigns in these primeval forests. These falls cover a wide
area, as they are nearly two miles in length. They are so great that
they must be viewed from several points before their full magnitude dawns
upon the traveller. They plunge out of the hidden recesses of the forest
in many places, for numerous islands have been formed which are now
densely wooded. Nature here seems to have revelled in perfect abandon in
producing this wonderful spectacle. It is like another Niagara set out in
the midst of a wilderness, where the hand of man has done nothing to add
to or detract from what nature has here prepared for the delectation of
mankind.

The falls may be divided into two sections, the Argentine and Brazilian
cascades. The Iguassú River is very wide just above the falls where it
takes a very sharp turn prior to making the first plunge. It makes a
series of three leaps, the last being a drop exceeding two hundred feet.
The unequal erosion of the rock has given the falls a horseshoe shape
very similar to Niagara. Below the falls the water passes through a
narrow gorge where the depth is so great that a hundred fathom line has
failed to sound it. The natives call it bottomless. In 1905, during an
unusually severe rainy season, the water rose so high here, because of
the narrowness of the gorge, that for five days it was backed up to the
total height of the lowest falls, two hundred and ten feet.

Ascending the Alta Paraná, another one hundred and twenty-five miles, one
reaches the smoking cataracts of La Guayra. So scored are the river’s
banks on either side by cascade and torrents that it might be called
“waterfall land.” The Falls of La Guayra are another series of mighty
cascades on the border between Paraguay and Brazil. Above the falls is
a great lake all of the waters of which must pass over these precipices
and through a narrow gorge. At one point it is only two hundred feet
from cliff to cliff. The current piles up in the centre with a corkscrew
motion which forms a maelstrom, with which the famous Whirlpool Rapids
are a quiet pool. The total plunge of these falls is three hundred and
ten feet. Above the La Guayra the Alta Paraná widens out and the hills
retreat. At a distance of four hundred miles, or a total distance of
one thousand six hundred and forty miles from Buenos Aires, are the
Uberaponga Falls, another frantic water power awaiting the harnessing by
man. One can follow this stream on up to its source in a flat, swampy
section, which is also the source of one of the principal affluents of
the Amazon. It drains a very large section of Brazil, for, because of the
range of mountains which follows the coast line in Brazil, water falling
within a few miles of the Atlantic turns its back on the blue waters of
the ocean and journeys from fifteen hundred to two thousand miles before
entering salt water by means of the La Plata.

The route up the Uruguay River is much more picturesque than that up the
Paraná. This majestic stream is about six miles wide at its junction with
the latter river. It is somewhat less obstructed by islands here, so that
both banks can usually be seen. And yet this great stream has moods, as
well as other rivers. The current in its main channel will oftentimes
change. It will encroach here and recede there, submerge an island in
one place and form a new one in another. After a long drouth navigation
must be conducted with caution, but the normal depth is generally
sufficient for all purposes. During times of flood all kinds of strange
small animals and vegetation are brought down by the Uruguay. The water
is decidedly clay coloured. On one side is the flat Argentine plain, and
on the other the undulating shores of Uruguay, for this river is the
international boundary line between these two republics. Small topsail
schooners may be seen coming down the river loaded with timber or fruit,
and bound either for Montevideo or Buenos Aires. Farther up the stream
contracts and one gets a more intimate acquaintance with the country. The
banks shrink back and reveal a glimpse of flowering shrubs, willow trees,
and an occasional palm. A stretch of bright, sandy beach may occasionally
unfold itself. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish shore from
island. Buoys mark the channel, which is very much zigzag. The sunsets on
these broad waters and flat pampas are really wonderful. They paint the
clouds in every colour and shade of rosy pink and brilliant red, and the
waters become of a bluish hue. The cliffs on the Uruguay side are tinted
in many colours, while the Argentine bank is nothing but a straight,
black line.

The boats stop on either side. One hundred and thirty miles from Buenos
Aires, and on the Uruguay side, is the town of Fray Bentos, where the
great Liebig’s Extract Factory is located. On the opposite side and a
little further up is Concepcion del Uruguay, which is an interesting
little town. The busiest and most important town of Argentina on the
Uruguay River is Concordia, two hundred and seventy miles from the
metropolis. It is a town of perhaps fifteen thousand inhabitants, and
has railway communication as well. Because of a falls and rapids at this
point the large river steamers cannot proceed beyond Concordia, although
light draught boats can ascend considerably farther.

Between the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers lie the two goodly-sized provinces
of Entre Rios and Corrientes, and the territory of Misiones. The
two provinces are each about the size of Indiana, and are rich in
agricultural lands. Wheat was first successfully cultivated in Entre
Rios, and these provinces still produce large quantities of grain as
well as much stock. Each one has a population of about a third of a
million and it is increasing each year. A number of colonies have been
established there which have been quite successful. Corrientes contains
several swampy lakes which cover many hundreds of square miles. A part
of the year the greater part of these lakes is dry and then furnishes
excellent pasturage. Their worst feature is that they are the breeding
places of the tick and other pests to stock. A good system of drainage
might make these lands invaluable. It also possesses one large body of
water, called Lake Ibera.

Misiones is a little larger than Massachusetts, and has a population not
exceeding thirty-five thousand. Its lands are fertile, but the climate
is more tropical and it has not been developed so rapidly as the other
sections of the country. It is the only province in Argentina that shares
the tropical conditions of Southern Brazil. The name was derived from
its settlement by the Jesuits after they were expelled from Brazil. For
a time their colonies were very prosperous and thousands of Indians were
gathered together at Apostoles, Santa Ana and San Ignacio. The work was
all done by the Indians under the direction of the priests. The ruins of
San Ignacio, which was established in the sixteenth century, and which
can still be traced in the forest growth, show the solidity with which
the place was built. Many ruins of the houses can still be seen, each one
with a niche in which was placed the statue of a saint. New settlements
of Russians and Poles have recently been established in this territory
which give promise of success. There is much rich virgin land awaiting
development in forest-covered Misiones. _Yerba maté_, tobacco, mandioca
and sugar-cane grow in great abundance.

Proceeding up the Paraguay River from its junction with the Alta Paraná
it is about two hundred miles to Asuncion. The river twists around over
its wide bed in a very capricious manner, and in flood times spreads over
thousands of square miles of the _llanos_, or plains. One can travel
several hundred miles farther by small steamers up into the great state
of Matto Grosso, Brazil, which is twice as large as Texas, and perhaps of
equal fertility. The unoccupied grazing lands of that state will, some
day, support millions of cattle that will be demanded by earth’s teeming
millions.

Flowing into the Paraguay River from the west in Argentina are
two rivers, the Bermejo and Pilcomayo, the latter of which is the
international boundary line with Paraguay for a long distance. Each of
these rivers is more than five hundred miles in length. The Bermejo River
is entirely within Argentine territory. It is exceedingly tortuous and
its actual length is about three times as great as the real distance
between its source and its mouth. Small steamers can navigate it for at
least half of its length.

Between these two rivers and extending across the Paraguay River into
Paraguay lies what is known as the Gran Chaco. This is a broad plain,
alternating with forest, which includes thousands of square miles of
territory. It is the least known of Argentine territory, because of the
difficulties of travel, and also because of the fact that wild and savage
Indians who lead a nomadic existence are still to be found in certain
sections. It was a mysterious and strange country to the early explorers.
Into this wilderness the natives fled, and both fancy and imagination
peopled it with all manner of strange wild beasts. The territorial
boundaries were never definitely settled, until President Hayes, acting
as arbitrator, fixed the boundaries between Paraguay and Argentina. These
vast leagues are now divided into two territories, Formosa and Chaco.
The former is almost as large as Ohio and the latter equals Illinois. In
the two territories the reported population is about one person to each
five square miles. There are many curious phenomena in the Chaco. The
edges between plain and woodland are as clearly cut and as straight as
if a surveyor had done the work. In fact the line of demarkation is drawn
with remarkable exactitude. On one side will be a forest, and on the
other the smooth plain stretches out with not a tree upon it to break the
severity of the contrast. In other places there will be only palm trees,
with not a single specimen of another species for variety. It is a land
of strange watercourses. Broad streams that have ploughed all the way
from the Andes in the full light of day burrow beneath the ground in the
Chaco and continue their course underground. During heavy rainfalls it is
claimed that small fish descend from the clouds. Fish eight or ten inches
in length will be found in pools after showers, where there had been no
water, and the ground had been in a parched condition for months. Do they
lie imbedded in the earth like frogs? Are these fish amphibious? These
questions have not yet been answered. It is a fact that there are many
odd phases of nature in this little known section of Argentina; the same
character is found in a goodly part of Paraguay, and it even extends up
into Brazil.

[Illustration: A FOREST IN THE GRAN CHACO]

The forest section of the Chaco is not a dense growth like the tropical
forests. The trees do not stand close together; and the spaces between
are not impenetrable, although some underbrush and tall grasses impede
the way. Yet a man on horseback can easily thread his way through them.
The only inhabitants are the Indians and half-breeds, the latter of whom
are only partially civilized. Their homes are mud huts of a single room
where the entire household, irrespective of age and sex, lodge. The
Chaco abounds in game of many kinds. Partridges, wood-pigeons and snipe
are very plentiful, and almost every species of water fowl in addition.
A species of wild turkey is also to be met with, which affords most
excellent sport as well as eating. The osprey, whose plumes are so much
in demand, is a native of this land. The tapir, ant-eater, wild pig,
jaguar and the lone wolf—a creature that has never been known to live in
captivity—are found here in their native wilds. Poisonous snakes are very
common, and huge pythons are occasionally encountered in the swamps. It
is the innumerable insects, however, that make life almost unbearable for
the white man, for he is subjected to both diurnal and nocturnal torture
by the hordes of these pests.

At the present time this section is chiefly exploited for the quebracho
wood. This is a very hard, fine-grained and tough wood. It was so named
from the words _quiebra-hacha_, the axe-breaker, and was well named,
for it does defy ordinary axes and saws. It is a tree found only in
the Chaco. There are two varieties, the _colorado_ (red) and _blanco_
(white), of which the former is the most valuable. From this tree are
made railroad ties which will last for thirty years, and it is the
richest in tannin extract of any tree yet discovered.

The quebracho tree usually stands out by itself and is easily discernible
at a distance, both from the character of its bark and the peculiar
formation of its branches. Four or five trees to the acre is about the
average yield. The tree is tall, two or three feet in diameter, and is
crowned by a rather thin, oval mass of branches and leaves. The leaves
are oval, smooth and shiny, and it is only partially deciduous. It
lives to a great age, but also grows quite rapidly, so that it can be
cultivated in the future as necessity demands. Formerly this tree was
sought only by the railroads for their sleepers. About fifteen years ago
it was found to be full of tannin, and, as oak bark was becoming scarce,
this demand was rapidly developed and now forms the principal use for
quebracho. Not only the bark yields tannin, but the sap and wood as well.
The bark contains about eight per cent. of tannin, the sap three or four
per cent., and the heart of the tree will yield as high as twenty-five
per cent. of this essence so necessary to the tanner. It is a difficult
and expensive product to market because of the remoteness of the forests
and scattered character of the trees. In many places narrow gauged
railroads and spurs have been run out through these trackless wastes
in order to bring the logs to the mills or rivers. Otherwise it would
be slow work, for during a large part of the year the roads are almost
impassable and oxen suffer much from the climate and insects. These
light railways have been found to be by far the most economical means
of getting the logs to market. One company owns four million acres of
the Chaco, and is prepared to cut logs into sleepers, make fence posts,
or prepare it into tannin extract, whichever offers the most profit.
There is a big and constantly increasing demand for all. The increase in
construction of the Argentine railways makes a demand for sleepers, and
failure of other sources of supply gives an ever widening market for the
tannin extract.

Some of the railways in the Chaco end at the rivers, where the logs are
loaded on boats and taken down to Rosario or Buenos Aires. Small sawmills
are now found way out in the Chaco far from civilization. Other companies
have their factories in the Chaco district, where the whole work is
done and the extract prepared for shipment. This substance is known in
the markets as “Quebracho Extract.” It is easily manufactured where the
proper machinery has been installed. The wood is passed through a machine
which cuts it into shavings and the smallest possible chips. These are
collected into immense kettles, where it is treated by chemical processes
until all the tannin has been removed. After this the fluid is reduced by
evaporation to a thick, jelly-like mass which is poured into sacks, where
it is finally dried into the substance sold in commerce. Some of the
companies engaged in this business have been capitalized for very large
sums, and considerable towns have grown up around their establishments.
Civilization and development have followed the construction of the
railroads here as everywhere.

[Illustration: AN INDIAN WOMAN OF THE GRAN CHACO]

In 1895 the first exportation of quebracho extract is recorded from the
River Plate. In that year it was four hundred tons only. By 1902 it had
reached nine thousand tons, and now the annual export exceeds thirty
thousand tons. Of this enormous export the United States takes fully
sixty-five per cent.

There are several thousand Indians who live in the Gran Chaco, and they
comprise a number of tribes, all of whom, however, have the same general
characteristics. These Indians are absolutely unlettered, and they have
developed no civilization or institution of their own. Furthermore,
they have the reputation of being treacherous and cruel, and many small
parties of whites have been treacherously murdered. They are perhaps
the most barbarous of any Indians in South America. Others of the same
tribes inhabit the Chaco of Paraguay. It is said by those who have made a
study of them that these Chaco aborigines are more ignorant and much less
tractable than any of the natives of Patagonia.

They dwell along the rivers in this great wilderness in the simplest kind
of abodes, and away from the settlements wear practically no clothing
whatever. One distinguishing feature is the habit of tattooing the
skin, which is very common. Not only the warriors, but the women as
well, indulge in this custom, which, in their opinion, beautifies them.
At first glance these tattoo marks oftentimes resemble the markings of
smallpox, but a closer inspection shows that it is all in geometrical
design. It is effected by pricking the skin with a big thorn, dipped in
an acrid milky substance obtained from a plant that grows near there, and
which leaves an indelible mark wherever it touches. It is absorbed by the
epidermic tissue. This juice is obtained by breaking off the clusters of
flowers of the plant, called the _iguoqui_, and this milky substance then
exudes from the stem. It is used as it comes out of the stem, for it must
be fresh. The Indians are also almost hairless on the face and body, due
to the habit of depilation of the skin. This latter characteristic is in
common with our American red men, and the tattooing takes the place of
paint.

Horrible tales are told of these Chaco Indians and their murder of
travellers. On the other hand numerous instances are known where they
have saved the lives of white men and tenderly ministered to their wants.
They have been accused of being cannibals, and probably were in the
past. “I have seen them drink the blood of animals killed for our use
with avidity,” says an Argentine writer. They do not live exclusively
on meat, but also eat roots and wild fruits, and the wild honey which
is found in abundance. From fruits and honey they also make fermented
drinks, of which they are very fond. They are nomadic, and wander
from one place to another in quest of game and fruit. They have few
domesticated animals, such as the dog and horse. They neither understand
nor practise agriculture, although they sometimes plant little patches of
corn or sugar-cane, which they have learned from the priests. They barter
a little among themselves, but of trade in general they know nothing, and
so they beg of travellers whom they meet instead of offering to trade.
It is said they cannot even count above four. In medicine they resort to
sorcery and incantations rather than to any curative herbs.

Polygamy is permitted among these Indians, but is not commonly practised.
The portion of women is very much as with the red men, for to them falls
the hard work of the home. If her husband dies the wife mourns for a
year, and it is not proper for her to marry again during that time. She
even refuses to converse and walks apart from all the others. The dead
are burned by some tribes and buried by others. Those tribes who bury
always place a gourd of water by the grave. This is both for the deceased
and his friends, who come to visit the grave, and is probably due to a
fraternal and hospitable idea in this land where a drink of refreshing
water is sometimes more welcome than food.



CHAPTER V

THE GARDEN OF THE REPUBLIC


The second city in Argentina is Rosario de Santa Fé. It is the Chicago
of Argentina, for it is the chief wheat market, and is about as far
inland as Pittsburg. It is connected with Buenos Aires by two branches
of the Central Railway, as well as river communication. Rosario is to a
great extent a replica of the national capital on a much smaller scale.
The streets all cross each other at right angles. One-storied buildings
predominate everywhere, and I do not believe that there is a structure
which exceeds three stories in the city. Even in the business section
one story is the general rule. In the way of municipal improvement
Rosario is up to date, and contains all the advantages of the metropolis
except population. There are a number of plazas after the usual style,
and a beautiful park adorns one section of the city. Electric light and
cars serve the entire city, so that in physical comforts Rosario is
not behind similar cities in Europe, or North America. There is quite
a considerable foreign colony and each one boasts its club where the
members can meet, eat, drink and be merry. Although Rosario is almost two
centuries old, it was an obscure little village up to a generation ago.
In the past ten years it has doubled its population.

As a commercial centre Rosario is of great importance. Tapping the
greater portion of the rich provinces of Cordoba and Santa Fé, it
receives enormous quantities of wheat and other cereals as well as live
stock. It is accessible to ocean-going steamers, and hundreds of vessels
leave it each year loaded with food for the millions of Europe. The
Paraná River at this point is nearly a mile wide, and is an imposing, if
not beautiful, stream of water. The river has cut its channel down into
the soil to such a depth that the bluffs upon which Rosario is built
stand about sixty feet high. Warehouses line these bluffs, and the wheat
is transferred to the waiting vessels below by gravity. Each warehouse
has a long chute running down to the river bank through which the grain
is poured. It has been bagged on the _estancias_ and is shipped in the
same bags to Europe. As soon as a bag touches the chute it speeds down
the inclined plane into the waiting vessel. The bags follow one another
in quick succession. At harvest time the wheat often becomes congested at
this port.

Large port works have been constructed so that the docks have
accommodation for a goodly number of boats, although not comparing at all
with Buenos Aires in extent. From here the river lines carry passengers
up and down the Paraná for hundreds of miles, and then they branch off
to the Paraguay and Alta Paraná. Quite a network of railway lines also
converge at Rosario, and altogether it is a hustling and busy place.

The large and rich province of Santa Fé is second in importance only to
that of Buenos Aires. It is long and narrow, being several hundred miles
in length from its northern to its southern boundary, and is almost as
large as England. The capital of the province is the city of Santa Fé.
For a long time this little city was an unimportant place, even though
it was the provincial capital. To-day it is, after almost three hundred
and fifty years of existence, a place of about twenty-five thousand
inhabitants. It is proposed to deepen the channel so that ocean-going
steamers can reach this port, but this project will not be done before
“to-morrow.” The northern part of this province partakes of the character
of the Chaco and is undeveloped. At least three-fourths of the state,
however, is rich land, well suited for the cultivation of cereals, which
form the principal product, and have contributed most to the wealth.
There is usually sufficient rain in this province, but its nearness to
the Chaco makes it subject to a visitation which is almost equal in its
destructive qualities to that of the drouth.

The farmer everywhere thinks that he has his full share of troubles.
But the American farmer has never had to contend with the locusts to
the extent that frequently befalls the Argentinian. One who has never
seen a plague of locusts can scarcely appreciate the troubles undergone
by Pharaoh when the clouds of locusts appeared as a punishment for his
disobedience. The farmer in Argentina, however, can heartily sympathize
with the Egyptian king, and, like him, would be willing to do or promise
almost anything to secure relief from this enemy to his peace and
prosperity. During the past season these abominable insects destroyed
millions of dollars’ worth of grain in that republic, and roused the
people to greater efforts than ever to find some means of exterminating
them. In travelling across the country last winter, which is their
summer, I saw thousands of acres of corn absolutely stripped of all the
leaves, and millions upon millions of the winged locusts were visible
from the train, so thick in places as to almost cast a shadow.

The locust is blessed, or cursed, with a voracious and unquenchable
appetite. This appetite is perhaps equalled in extent only by the hatred
with which it is regarded by the farmer. Prior to 1905 Argentina had not
had a scourge of locusts for several years, but since that time they
have come almost every year. The first intimation of their approach is
usually in October, when a few flying locusts will appear coming from the
north. These seem to be the advance guard, for in a few days they are
followed by increasing hordes, until the clouds of insects are so thick
that they obscure the sun like passing clouds. Although these locusts
are so numerous they do not do so much damage, as they are migrating and
do not stay in one place long. A farmer may wake up some nice morning
and find his beautiful shade trees stripped almost bare by the locusts
that have alighted during the night. But in a day or two these will be
gone, although others may follow. Future trouble has been laid up for
him, however, for eggs have been laid by the millions. These are usually
deposited in a small hole which has been bored down in a bare space of
ground.

With the advent of the young locusts about six weeks later the real
troubles of the farmer have begun, and matters begin to wear a serious
aspect. The little gaudy-coloured creatures, with their yellow, green and
black bodies and red legs, are shaped very much like grasshoppers. They
cannot yet fly, and for that reason remain as the guests of the landowner
for several weeks while they are awaiting their final development. They
pass slowly along, jumping in grasshopper fashion from stem to stem,
or leaf to leaf. They cling in clusters to each leaf and stem like a
devouring army, and stay there until it is absolutely bare. The extent
of the damage which they are able to inflict can be seen by inspecting
a corn field after their visit. The transformation is as marvellous as
it is tragic. Every shred of the rich, luxuriant leaves and tassels has
disappeared, and only the thin, bare stalks, shivering and desolate,
remain. Even the houses will be invaded by these unpleasant creatures
(beasts, the Englishman would say), and to say that they are unwelcome
but mildly expresses the real feeling of the farmer who sees the fruit of
his toil thus disappearing before the hordes with insatiable appetites.
The only vegetable growth that will not be touched, except as a last
resort, is the Paraiso tree. They will eat everything else first, and
only fall back upon the leaves and bark of this tree when all other food
has failed.

In about six weeks the wings have developed and the “hoppers” become
“fliers.” Their bodies have waxed fatter, but their colouring has
become sobered. Then flights will again become noticeable. A swarm will
sometimes resemble a vast smoke-cloud from a burning city or straw stack.
They will oftentimes settle on the boughs of limbs in such quantities as
to cause the limbs to bend and crack beneath their weight. Carriages,
trucks and the fronts of locomotives will be thickly coated with the
fragments of the bodies of the insects, which they have killed. In such
armies, where numbers are countless, casualties go for nothing. A
trifling loss of a few thousand or a few millions is only a drop in the
ocean. You might as well try to stop a cloud passing across the sky by
shooting at it as a swarm of these insects.

One newspaper account, which I saw, reported: “The north and centre
of Entre Rios are simply covered with locusts both in the hopper and
flying stages. The city of Paraná was invaded by a swarm calculated to
be nine miles in front and several miles in depth, and so thick that the
sun was partially obscured. Other cities are hurriedly being enclosed
with screens in order to keep the locusts at bay. In places they have
completely devastated the vineyards, orchards and maize. In many places
a cry of desperation is heard. In the province of Santa Fé swarms of
fliers passed Santa Isabel bearing east; enormous swarms passed General
Lopez proceeding west; Monte Vera reports the passage of fliers towards
the north and south. The work of destruction goes on successfully. To-day
between Zarate, Pilar and Campaña were destroyed sixty-eight thousand
kilos (more than seventy-four tons) of saltona (hoppers).”

The farmer is in a quandary what to do. If he had only a hundred acres
to look after it would not be so difficult, but none of them have fewer
than thousands of acres. How to secure the labour to drive these locusts
is a difficult problem.

The government has passed laws requiring each landowner to maintain
men to fight the locusts, on the basis of about one to each thousand
acres. If this is not done the owner is fined. The general method is
to dig pitfalls three or four feet deep, the outer edge of which is
protected by overlapping sheets of corrugated iron. These traps run out
for some distance. The locusts, while still in the hopping stage, are
driven towards this trap until these pits are oftentimes nearly filled
up with their bodies. They are then covered up with a coating of earth,
and they die very quickly. If this work is thoroughly done it is quite
efficacious, but it is oftentimes difficult to get sufficient labour, for
it is unpleasant work because of the nauseating odour from the bodies of
the crushed locusts. Unless the work is systematically and thoroughly
done, however, it does not have much effect, for a few millions will
not be missed. If one man does his work well, and his neighbour is
indifferent to his duty, then his work is for naught, as they will soon
swarm over his land again from his neighbour’s fields. United effort
alone is efficacious, and that is what the government is endeavouring to
either induce or compel the people to do. It has a commission at work
studying this and other insect pests, and the best way to exterminate
them.

The source of these insects is not positively known. They come from the
north, in what is known as the Chaco, which is a vast wilderness little
known, and covering tens of thousands of square miles. Some think that
they come from the state of Matto Grosso, in Brazil, which is an empire
in itself just north of the Chaco. Accurate knowledge of the location of
their hatcheries is yet wanting. The insect is fortunate in having chosen
the wild and unexplored portion of the country for its home. The wisest
and surest method of getting rid of these locusts, in my opinion, would
be to search out this place and destroy them there. In that way it might
be possible within a very few years to absolutely rid the country from
this scourge of locusts as it is to-day.

[Illustration: AMONG THE HILLS OF CORDOBA]

No one knows any good purpose that the locust serves unless a chastening
against pride and vain glory. They are relished by the ostriches and
poultry, who devour them greedily. Chickens will enjoy a hearty meal
upon them, but the result is that the eggs are ruined for edible
purposes. The interior becomes dark, almost a wine colour, and they are
given a fishy flavour, which is altogether unpalatable. Thus the malice
of the locust towards man holds fast even in death, and makes him useless
as food for the fowls which frequent every barn-yard. It is little
wonder that the far-reaching cry comes up from Argentina for help and
deliverance from this awful pest.

Adjoining Santa Fé on the west is the still larger province of Cordoba.
The eastern part of this province is level, but the surface begins to
rise and is broken here and there by ridges and hills. During the summer
season many seek the hills of Cordoba to escape the heat of the summer.
There is a fine train service from Buenos Aires to Cordoba. This city
is about two hundred and forty-six miles beyond Rosario. The Central
Argentine runs through trains and makes the trip in about sixteen hours.
The railway reaches the hills quite a while before the city of Cordoba
is sighted, and there are a couple of little branches that run to Alta
Gracia and Rio Segundo respectively, each of which boasts a summer
colony. The former is quite noted as a health resort.

The city of Cordoba is the capital of the province of the same name,
and one of the most important commercial towns of the republic. It is
situated at an elevation of fourteen hundred feet and has a population
of almost fifty thousand. It lies in a hollow, and can hardly be seen by
the incoming traveller until almost upon the town itself. The woods and
hills, with the Rio Primero (first river), in the foreground, make a very
pretty picture. Cordoba has always been noted for its university, which
was granting learned degrees long before our own universities were even
thought of; and it has been granting them continuously ever since. It is
also a strong centre of Catholicism, and has more priests in proportion
to the population than any other city of Argentina. The public buildings
are all very creditable, of which the University, Cathedral, National
College, Normal School and government buildings are the principal. There
is quite a noted observatory located on a nearby height, which is under
the control of the national government. Its first director was a North
American. The work accomplished by this observatory has received high
praise from both Europe and America, and has aided much in the work of
studying the southern heavens. There are several pretty squares and
promenades. The many hotels are filled with a well dressed crowd of
people in summer, and much of the fashion of the capital is transferred
to this place for a few weeks.

From Cordoba the Cordoba Central Railway conveys the traveller through
a not very thickly settled country and across some salty marshes to the
fair city of Tucuman, which is situated in what is called the garden spot
of the republic. This city is about the same elevation and has about
the same temperature as Cordoba. “Have you seen Tucuman?” is a question
usually asked of the foreigner, for the Argentinians look upon this city
and district with a pardonable pride. Here is the effusive description of
a native writer, who becomes poetic in dwelling upon the beauties of this
favoured city.

“O Tucuman! thou the most beautiful among thy sisters, all hail to thee!
Whether I contemplate the level plain or lift up my eyes to the lofty
mountains encircling thee on the side of the Circola Massimo or the
Occaso, my soul is thrilled with delight and admiration. Nature, who
has been somewhat niggardly to thy companions, has lavished her gifts
on thee, her favoured one, because thou wert beautiful and beloved! To
thee she has given the vast plain of the Pampa, and bounded it with a
semicircle of hills so as to welcome the Alisian winds, that in return
for thy hospitality, enrich thee with the life-giving elements gathered
in their wanderings over numberless Alpine heights, and fraternize with
thy river, called by thee the Fondo, but changing its name over and over
again, according to the caprice of the friendly lands whose bosoms it
fertilizes. And if the sun shines on thee with burning rays, his heat is
tempered by the moisture dropping from the clouds as they are rent by
electricity, with sudden explosion, or prolonged thunder.

“Hence thy soil is verdant in the winter, and in spring is adorned with
innumerable flowers—a treasure-house of exotics—giving place one to the
other for thy embellishment during half the year; and in the summer and
autumn thou gatherest abundantly the fruits of a few growths.”

The city is laid out in the usual checkerboard fashion, with extremely
narrow streets. In a public hall here the declaration of independence was
signed on the 9th of July, 1816. There are a number of large churches,
a cathedral and several schools. The spiritual welfare of the people is
not neglected through lack of opportunity to attend service. There is
a public library, a theatre, etc. It is an ancient town, having been
founded in what was then a remote district, in 1585. It is in sight of
some very high peaks of the Andes, although a considerable distance away.
Tucuman is in the centre of a rich sugar district, there being about
thirty sugar factories at work. Almost one hundred thousand tons of sugar
have been produced in a single year, in addition to large quantities of
alcohol. Rice growing is also quite a feature of this district. The soil
is carefully cultivated and irrigation is resorted to by many of the
planters, for an abundance of water is easily obtained. The climate is
what might be termed semi-tropical. Tucuman is the last city of any size
or great importance in the northwestern provinces.

North of Tucuman are the provinces of Salta and Jujuy, both of which
reach to the borders of Bolivia. To the west of Tucuman lie the
provinces of Rioja and Catamarca, as well as the territory of Los Andes,
all of which border Chile. These are all mountainous states, but they
are neither small nor unimportant. The smallest one is as large as
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland, and the largest one, Salta, is
nearly as large as all of New England. The altitude of the towns varies
from Rioja, the capital of the province of the same name, at an altitude
of only seventeen hundred feet, to Jujuy, capital of that province,
which lies four thousand two hundred and seventy feet above sea level,
and is the highest city in the republic. Jujuy is distant just about one
thousand miles from Buenos Aires by railroad, and is at the foot of the
spurs of the range of mountains that reach up into Bolivia. Although so
near the Tropic of Capricorn yet the elevation prevents the extreme heat
that prevails in the lowlands during the summer, while the freezing point
is never reached in winter. The scenery in the neighbourhood of this city
is really beautiful, for hill and valley, wood and plain all contribute
to make up an enchanting landscape. When the connection with the Bolivian
railway is completed this city will be on another transcontinental line
from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The territory of Los Andes, in the
extreme northwestern corner of the country, is the most mountainous
section and is very little known.

The provinces of Cordoba and Santa Fé are the home of many beautiful
birds. One of the most gorgeous of humming-birds is to be found here.
Its body is green streaked with gold, with a vivid scarlet tail. A
common song bird is the _bien te veo_ (I see you well), so named because
its song is supposed to represent those words. The call, which is an
extremely musical one, is repeated over and over again. It is brightly
coloured and is a species of thrush. The oven-bird is a favourite bird
and is looked upon much as the robin with us. It is chiefly remarkable
for its nest, which is built of mud and is entered by a doorway. The
nests are usually built upon any convenient post, and in places one will
find half of the telephone and telegraph posts surmounted by one of these
nests. It is a common saying that the oven-bird will not, under any
consideration, build its nest on a Sunday.

There are many birds of the vulture tribe in Argentina. Patagonia is
especially a wonderful country for these birds of prey. Of these the
chinango is a small carrion-hawk of a brown-gray colour. Another is the
carancho, which is very common throughout the Camp. This bird is a dark
brown with a light band across the wings. These two birds prefer carrion,
but will attack enfeebled and helpless small animals such as hares or
lambs.

    “Next comes the condor, awful bird,
    On the mountains’ highest tops,
    Has been known to eat up boys and girls
    And then to lick its chops.”

Thus runs the nursery rhyme about the chief of the larger army of the
vulture tribe, which is common in the states adjacent to the Andes. Seen
against the pale blue of the sky, swerving in graceful circles at a great
height amidst the inner solitudes of the Andine peaks, its stately flight
and grand spread of motionless wing make it seem like a noble bird. On a
nearer view it shares the repulsive appearance of all birds that feed on
dead animal flesh. Eagles are scarce in the Andes, and the condors take
their place. They are difficult to approach unless they are gorged so
that they cannot fly. Their size is enormous. One writer tells of killing
one in Patagonia that measured nine feet, three inches across the
outstretched pinions, and some of even greater size are reported. They
are sometimes four feet long from tip of beak to tail. They hatch their
young amid the snow-covered crags at an altitude of twenty thousand feet,
so it is said, for they can endure a temperature which renders human
existence impossible.

These birds, which fly so high that they become mere specks on the
intense blue of the skies, exceed the vulture in their ability to
discover a dead carcass. It has been said that they will follow a mule
train a long distance waiting for a disabled animal to be left behind.
If a sick animal, large or small, is found they will immediately pluck
out the eyes, and then wait for the animal to die before eating it. They
fly so high that it is impossible to shoot them, and the only way to kill
the condor is to place a dead animal as a decoy and then lay in ambush
until the birds appear. It is one thing to admire these birds wheeling in
graceful circles on quiescent wing, but it would be quite another for the
lonely and helpless traveller out among the hills where no help was near.
Long before aid could come this powerful and unscrupulous bird might
discover the helpless one. These gigantic birds have been tamed when
captured at a sufficiently early age. Some have found them interesting
pets, but their immense size soon makes their presence very undesirable
around the house and farmyard.

Argentina is undoubtedly rich in mineral deposits which have as yet
scarcely been touched. All along the Andes, from Bolivia, herself
extremely rich in the precious metals, to Tierra del Fuego, traces
of silver, gold and copper have been found. The indifference to the
exploitation of this mineral wealth may be due to the lack of available
capital, the difficulties of transportation of the ore and the scarcity
of fuel in the mineral zones of the country. The exports of all minerals
do not reach half a million dollars yearly, of which copper is one of
the principal items. The early history of the country records a story
of marvellous wealth dug from the earth. The future may have a still
greater story to tell. The workings of many of these earlier mines have
been absolutely lost. The locations of mines from which fabulous wealth
was wrung are unknown to-day. Some of these mines date back to the early
conquerors, and others to the Incas themselves, who overran this section
of the country. Ancient bronze instruments of that race have been found
here, giving indisputable evidence of that fact, although it is doubtful
if they ever had a permanent abode in these mountains. The Indians used
to bring tributes of gold to the priests, but would not reveal the site
of the hidden mines.

The principal mines of Argentina, that are being worked to-day, are
in the provinces of Rioja and Catamarca, in the northwestern part of
the republic, and in Mendoza. The most important are undoubtedly the
Famatima copper mines of Rioja. The government has recently constructed
a wonderful aerial wire ropeway here which is really a marvel and has
greatly aided in transporting the metals. The main ropeway is nearly
twenty-five miles in length, with its highest terminal nearly fourteen
thousand feet above sea level. Power is available for control and to
assist the upward traffic. One span of this wonderful ropeway is half a
mile in length where it cuts across a deep valley.

Argentina possesses some fine marble quarries and their production
has been gradually increasing. The production of gold and silver is
comparatively small. Within the past year petroleum has been found near
Mendoza, and a number of good wells have been sunk. If this valuable oil
can be found in large quantities it will go a long ways toward solving
the problem of cheaper fuel. Nearly three million tons of coal are
imported annually to supply the need of fuel. Nearly all of this coal is
imported from England, the shipments from the United States in 1909 being
only a few thousand tons, but petroleum products are nearly all imported
from North America. The value of the products of the mines of Argentina
will average nearly a million dollars a year.



CHAPTER VI

THE PROVINCE OF GOOD AIRS


“You must see La Plata.”

I heard this from so many Argentinians that it led me to visit this
made-to-order city of which they are so proud. It is an hour’s
ride—thirty-five miles—from Buenos Aires to La Plata. After leaving
the suburbs the train crosses the dead level of the pampas in a line
as direct as the crow would fly. Through great _estancias_, with their
immense herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, the line passes, after
escaping from the suburbs of the metropolis, with a half dozen small and
unimportant towns along the route, in which the one-storied buildings
are ever built in monotonous lines with the front wall a little higher
than the rest in order to give it a fictitious height. One explanation
given me for this high front is that it acted as a protection in street
fighting. Whether built for that purpose or not, this parapet has
frequently been used by both civilians and troops as a protection in the
revolutionary scrimmages which have been so frequent in the past. At last
the train runs into an imposing station that would be a credit to almost
any city, with a façade which is really an architectural gem. This is La
Plata, the wonderful.

When the national government appropriated the city of Buenos Aires as
the national capital the inhabitants of the province of the same name,
which had hitherto dominated the country, were highly indignant. Unable
to change the official edict they set to work to create a rival city. At
that time there was not even a settlement at La Plata, and only a few
mud huts denoted its location. A site down the river was chosen in order
to secure a deeper natural channel, and avoid the necessity of so much
dredging to keep the channel free from mud. A new port, called Enseñada,
was constructed, with commodious docks, the new capital having been
located five miles back from the water front. To complete this stupendous
undertaking the province assumed a bonded debtedness of $70,000,000, most
of which was obtained in Europe, and not until then was the vanity of
these provincials appeased. It was one of the greatest follies that the
Argentinians have ever engaged in.

It was in 1881 that the government decided to build this new capital
for the province of Buenos Aires. It was to be a model city, and worthy
of its rank as the chief city of the wealthiest province of an opulent
republic. To this end the finest architectural raiment for a corporate
body that could possibly be conceived was erected, with all the
ostentation possible in a Latin nation. Magnificent public buildings,
palatial law courts, a great cathedral and stately edifices of every
kind—all were comprised in the scheme. Broad avenues paved and planted
with rows of trees, stretching their long lengths between the imposing
facades, were traced upon paper by the architects, and builders were set
at work to reproduce these plans out of brick, stone and mortar, and the
resulting city of La Plata stands to-day as their monument.

The city was laid out with an astonishing degree of boldness and
originality, and upon an ambitious scale. It was hoped by the builders
that its splendour would bring to mind those pictured conceptions of the
perfect town. Each edifice was to be so placed as to lend its own proper
proportion of dignity. In this model town there was to be no crowding
together of palaces, as had heretofore been common in Spanish cities, nor
were rows of squalid little one-storied houses to be permitted to jostle
with their imposing fronts the walls of stately palaces. No, not in La
Plata. To accomplish this result the resplendent palaces were planted at
regular intervals about the city, each in its own garden and faced by its
own boulevard and plaza, and separated from the next one by a becoming
row of private houses. There was to be no confusion or congestion as a
result of buildings crowded together, and no vulgar hustling. In justice
to the builders it may be said that there never has been anything of the
latter quality, for the strenuous life has never yet found lodgment in La
Plata.

[Illustration: “A SOMNOLENT ATMOSPHERE SEEMS TO PREVAIL”]

The first impression upon the visitor is very peculiar, for a somnolent
atmosphere seems to prevail. As one emerges from the station two broad
thoroughfares open up before him. These broad streets, which are still
designated by numbers, with their extensive sweep of carriageway,
were designed to resound to the hoofs of horses and the noise of
wheels; their broad pavements were intended to ring with the tramp of
multitudinous feet—but they do not. The founders of La Plata reckoned
without their host. One may gaze down the entire length of a street and
not see a single figure; one might stroll through any of the little
parks set out with trees and palms and find every bench unoccupied. The
vast white palaces are practically empty. Occasionally one will see
an electric car sweep leisurely around the corner, or a cabman lazily
waiting for a “fare,” but the car does not hurry and the cab driver
does not worry over his inactivity. One wonders where the inhabitants
are. The fact is that the few who do live here fill so little of the
space that they are seldom seen. It has never succeeded in becoming a
residential city in spite of the beauty of the parks, the low rentals
and other advantages. The grass is abundant everywhere. In fact some
people are so unfeeling as to assert that the green grass grows all
round, round, round, as the song has it. As it is, the green tufts thrust
themselves upward in many places through the pavements and around the
rough cobble-stones of the driveways. In some of the suburban streets a
little more grass would make a solid lawn. It sprouts from crevices of
neglected walls and roofs, and even from the uncompleted walls of the
great cathedral, which lies in neglect. This structure, great in plan,
is oppressively desolate in its abandonment and the silence that broods
over it. The sparrows build their nests within its yawning walls and are
undisturbed, and one wonders how long such a condition will remain.

[Illustration: THE LEGISLATIVE PALACE, LA PLATA]

Magnificent buildings have been built and are in use. The Government
Palace is a beautiful building set facing a great and imposing plaza. The
Legislative Palace, Municipal Building, Law Courts, Bank of the Province
of Buenos Aires and other palaces are all splendid buildings, worthy the
capital of one of our own states. In them some life is visible, and one
will find a number of clerks busy over the books in which the records of
the provincial business are kept. The officials prefer to live in Buenos
Aires and make the trip back and forth each day, spending only a few
hours in La Plata. A university, one of three in the republic, has been
built with beautiful buildings adapted to its purposes, and a number of
students are enrolled on its roster. There is a beautiful park with a
fine zoological garden where the roar of the lion and the trumpet of the
elephant disturb the silence of the groves. It contains one of the finest
avenues of trees that I have ever seen. In the centre of this park has
been built a large museum, which is a treasure-house of curios of the
native tribes of South America. When the public offices close after five
or six hours of opened doors, and the evening train pulls out for Buenos
Aires, La Plata sinks into repose until another day breaks.

There was a time when La Plata was a livelier place. The docks at
Enseñada were much used before the new docks were constructed at the
larger capital. Now the great boats, flying the flags of Great Britain,
France and Germany, steam majestically by this sleepy port and unload
their passengers and freight at Argentina’s metropolis. Nevertheless
this city with its palatial buildings and broad streets, overspread with
silent gloom, is still the official capital of a province. There are
those who say that La Plata is only sleeping, merely in a state of coma
from which it will emerge one day and surprise the world with its great
and wonderful doings. Perhaps—maybe; that is for the future to decide.
If it has a great future it probably lies in the docks at Enseñada,
although a large slaughtering house has recently been built here by an
American firm. At the present time it is enjoying a prolonged siesta from
which nothing seems to awaken it. Built for a hundred thousand people
there are not more than half of that number that live there.

The province of Buenos Aires is the richest and most populous province
in Argentina. Including the federal capital, it contains one-third of
the entire population. On several occasions this province seriously
considered secession from the rest of the republic—but that was before it
lost the metropolis. In area it is more than twice the size of Illinois,
and resembles that state very much in its physical characteristics. It
contains a number of towns of fair size, and a trip across the province
to Bahia Blanca, about three hundred miles distant, is a very interesting
journey.

There are two or three different routes, but the most interesting one
is that via Tandil. Passing out through the English suburb of Temperly,
the main line heads out for the level pampa with scarcely a turn for
mile after mile. The fields are thickly dotted with cattle and sheep,
for this is one of the best stock countries in the republic. Although a
number of small stations are passed it is not until Dolores is reached,
after a run of more than a hundred miles, that there is a town of any
size. This is a city of probably eight thousand, with the usual plaza and
church of the Camp towns, and is a junction point for several branches
of the Great Southern. It is the seat of the courts of justice for the
southern portion of the province, and has a prison of considerable size.
At Maipu is the branch for Mar del Plata, the seaside resort, but the
main line turns westward. This passes through a fine pastoral district
where Scotch landowners are very numerous and prosperous. Soon afterwards
the railroad enters the only transverse range of hills in Argentina,
some of the peaks of which reach an elevation of from three to four
thousand feet and furnish a pleasing variation to the monotony of the
horizontal landscape. Tandil, which is distant from Buenos Aires more
than two hundred miles, is picturesquely located among these hills and
has a population of several thousand. About three miles from the town
is the famous rocking stone, which is an irregular flattened cone about
thirteen feet in height and sixteen feet in diameter at its base, and
is so beautifully poised on the edge of a slope that it sometimes moves
even in a slight breeze. And yet the combined strength of several teams
of horses has been unable to move it from its base. There are many other
picturesque spots and curiosities in this neighbourhood, and there is
a very pretty waterfall formed by a stream which comes down among the
hills. Juarez and Tres Arroyos are the only other towns of any importance
until the thriving new port of Bahia Blanca is reached, at the mouth of
the Naportá Grande.

[Illustration: PUERTO GALVAN, BAHIA BLANCA]

Bahia Blanca, the “white bay,” is a thriving place. It is a name the
significance of which is not yet wholly appreciated in the United States,
or the world at large, for its importance has not yet been fully grasped.
The growth of this city has been phenomenal, mushroom-like, and yet its
development has been substantial. As a port its strategic value cannot
well be overestimated. It is the only safe naval harbour for the big
battleships, and the government has built an arsenal and docks on the
eastern side of the estuary, called the Puerto Militar. It is a natural
outlet for one of the richest agricultural sections of the republic. The
wheat which was formerly shipped to Buenos Aires, and exported from that
port, is now loaded on ocean liners from Bahia Blanca, and forwarded to
Europe. The railroads are pushing out their lines west and south, and
opening up new wheat and grazing lands each year, so that the shipments
from this port are jumping by leaps and bounds. Not very long ago this
site was nothing but a sandy waste, with an unimportant settlement at
which only coasting vessels stopped. Now there are electric tramways and
lights, great elevators and a good system of docks. The value of the land
has increased and a few far-sighted individuals have reaped fortunes. The
“boom,” if such it can be called, is still on as development progresses.
The Great Southern Railway at first had a monopoly on the business of
this port, but the Buenos Aires and Pacific has built into it, and now
claims a share. The port works of the Great Southern form an addition
by themselves and are called Ingeniero White, in honour of the engineer
who built them. Several moles and elevators with an enormous capacity
and which cost a million and a half of dollars have been constructed
at these terminals. Puerto Galvan is the name of the Pacific Railroad
terminals. To what extent Bahia Blanca will become a rival to Buenos
Aires is uncertain, but it seems to me that there is room for both and
to spare. It now ranks next after Rosario. Three hundred miles is a
goodly distance, and each town ought to continue to grow rapidly, and
neither necessarily at the expense of the other. Bahia Blanca is bound to
expand, as she has the great undeveloped western pampas and the fertile
part of Northern Patagonia right at her very doors. At the present time
Bahia Blanca has a population in the neighbourhood of fifty thousand
inhabitants.

Between Bahia Blanca and the Andes lie three rich territories, all of
them of goodly size. The most important one at present is La Pampa,
which is directly west of the southern half of the province of Buenos
Aires. It is about the size of Iowa and is rapidly being populated and
stocked. A few years ago this territory was entirely undeveloped, and
the gaucho in charge of wandering herds of sheep held full sway. Railway
extensions brought private ownership, however, and now this territory
bids fair to become one of the richest sections of the republic. The
Western and Southern Railways are both continually pushing extensions
across the fertile plains, and material prosperity everywhere follows. It
now has a population of about one person to each square mile. According
to statistics it is third in the number of sheep of all the territorial
divisions, which is a good showing for a new country. Wheat and flax
culture is also being rapidly developed. Toay and General Acha are the
only towns of any importance, the latter of which is the capital.

The territory of Rio Negro lies directly to the south of La Pampa and
stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andes. It lies between the
Colorado and Chubut Rivers, and is watered by the Negro River as well.
Along these rivers there are a number of _estancias_ already located,
most of which are owned by companies and many by foreign landowners.
A new branch of the Southern Railway has been constructed across this
territory, following the Rio Colorado, the red river, for some distance,
then cutting across to and following the Rio Negro, the black river,
as far as the town of Neuquen. This has led to the establishment of
other _estancias_ along those streams. All three of these rivers carry
an abundance of water, and it will not be long until the question of
irrigation will be taken up on the same lines as in our own western
states; then there will be a development take place that will make this
land blossom as the rose. The possibilities are there and the great
demands for grains will sooner or later lead to this action. There is
no doubt that those lands are fully as rich as any part of Colorado or
California, and that is saying a good deal. The Rio Negro and Rio Chubut
are both navigable for vessels of light draught for a considerable
distance.

Neuquen is another large territory, as large as Ohio, lying right at the
base of the Andes. It is mostly mountainous and as yet very little is
known about this province, as few have visited it. Its population does
not exceed fifteen or twenty thousand, many or most of whom are Indians.
The rainfall is not abundant, but it is well watered by the streams
which are formed by the melting snows. It is possible that it could be
cultivated just as profitably as the province of Mendoza, which joins it
on the north, and which partakes of much of the same character of soil
and physical configuration as Neuquen. Chos Malal, a small town in the
mountains, is the capital, but it is difficult of access. A railroad
extension, however, is now headed in that direction.

The slopes of the Andes here and in many parts of the republic are
covered with valuable timbers. If these timbers were near the markets
or easy transport they would be worth fabulous sums. As it is Argentina
imports nearly all her building lumber at high prices, with an
undeveloped wealth of timber within her own borders. Most of these forest
lands have scarcely been explored, and it would be impossible to give
even a faint estimate of their real value, but it is undoubtedly very
great.



CHAPTER VII

THE MYSTERIOUS LAND OF THE PATA-GOAS


Patagonia has always been a land of mystery. Only a few years ago the
geographers labelled it “no man’s land,” because no nation seemed
interested in it. Later Chile and Argentina, longing to expand, cast
envious eyes upon this great territory immediately adjoining their
borders, and parcelled it out between themselves. The Andes was made the
general boundary line, and this gave to Argentina by far the greatest
share of the territory. Even Tierra del Fuego, the Land of Fire, was thus
divided, so that each nation has a share in that large island which is
the last inhabited land on the way to the Antarctic continent.

Patagonia impresses the traveller as vast and elemental. Its natural
configuration is stamped with these characteristics. From its northern
boundary it tapers gradually to the Straits of Magellan. The Argentine
section naturally divides itself into three divisions, running north
and south. Along the Atlantic shores lie the pampas, the flat and level
plains. These plains rise in gently graduated terraces toward the west,
one level plain above another. Then follows a network of lagoons and
lakes, some connected by rivers and others by channels, many of which
shift and alter under the climatic influences. On the western side the
Andes range of the Cordilleras stand out against the sky like a mighty
barrier. They are a tumult of mountains ever climbing upwards, their
lofty gorges choked with glaciers, their hollows holding great lakes of
ice-cold blue waters, and about their bases stretch thousands of miles
of forests of which only the mere edge has been explored. Thus it is
that the vast extent of Patagonia offers the most extreme and the most
abrupt contrasts. Flat pampa, with hardly an undulation in sight, stands
in sight of mountains almost inaccessible in their steep escarpments.
Side by side these contrasts lie, mountain against plain, forest against
thorn-scrub. The wind is the only element common to both. For a thousand
miles the Atlantic coast is a low-lying, level, treeless series of bleak
and brown downs, with few bays that offer protection to shipping; the
Pacific coast, in Chile, is dented and notched with fiords, and the
shores are covered with dense forests due to the excessive rainfall.

Patagonia is a land of big distances. On the Atlantic coastland it is
often a ride of three or four days from one farm to another. The holdings
are measured by the square league and not by the quarter-section. There
is one farm that covers five hundred square leagues, or more than two
million acres of land, and is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
No wonder the distances seem almost appalling to the traveller. One
accustomed only to cities would indeed feel very forlorn here. As one
travels into the interior, a white face becomes more and more rare; empty
leagues upon leagues surround you on every side. One seems to stand alone
with only the wind, the mirages and the limitless distances, and the blue
sky above for a canopy. This wild land appears, according to geologists,
to have been the last habitation of the greater beasts of preceding ages.
It is now one of the last to be occupied by civilized man, and receive
its proper share of the human population.

The discovery of Patagonia dates from 1520, when that intrepid explorer,
Ferdinand Magellan, forced his way down the east coast of South
America in the face of continuous storms. With his little fleet of five
vessels he pushed on in the hope of finding a strait which connected
the two oceans. He was compelled to winter one season along the coast
of Patagonia. A mutiny broke out among his captains and only one
remained loyal. Two of the others were executed, and one was marooned
upon the shore. For months no signs of life appeared on shore, although
expeditions were sent a short distance into the interior; but one day
a painted savage, very tall, appeared. One of the crew wrote, “So tall
was this man that we came up to the level of his waist-belt. He was well
enough made and had a broad face, painted red, with yellow circles around
his eyes, and two heart-shaped spots on his cheeks.” Thus was the report
of giants inhabiting Patagonia first carried back to civilization. They
were named Pata-goas, big feet, and that name has since clung to the
country. Sir Francis Drake visited these shores a half-century later with
a small squadron, and during the succeeding hundred years a number of
navigators skirted along the coast. Several of them brought back tales of
the giants, but these have since been found erroneous, as the Indians
are not much taller than the North American Indians, whom they strongly
resemble in physical characteristics. Darwin visited this country early
in the last century and gave the first detailed account of the country
and people, and his report dwelt strongly upon the desolate character
of the land. Since then it has become better known, and a number of
travellers as well as scientists have visited Patagonia and recorded
their impressions. The Chilean and Argentine boundary commissions have
also been at work for several years, establishing the international
boundaries, and their reports have contained much valuable information.

On the eastern coast there are a number of settlements, such as Santa
Cruz, San Julian and Gallegos, at the mouths of the half-dozen rivers
which pour their icy waters across the wind-swept plains. Gallegos is the
name given by the Spaniards to the strong west wind, so this name was
given to a river, and, finally, to the little settlement at its mouth.
This village of corrugated iron is a Mecca for the sheep-men and Indians
who dwell in the vicinity. From it a few highways may be traced out on
the pampas, where they disappear. The Welsh have founded settlements
at Dawson, Gaimon and Trelew, which have grown into thriving colonies,
and there are a few smaller ones in the interior. The Welsh settlements
are made up of good sturdy folk, who are excellent pioneers for an
undeveloped country.

The sheep ranchers on these lonely pampas are interesting studies. Some
of them own hundreds of thousands of these useful little animals, and
there is one company that possesses more than two millions which are
kept on their several ranches. These are usually divided into herds
of a couple of thousand each. Each flock has several square miles of
pasture allotted to it. The shepherd has a number of dogs who aid him in
controlling the recalcitrant ones, and they understand their masters’
orders very well. These herders are Scotchmen, Germans and half-breeds.
The animals feed all the year around on the pastures. The successful
ranch in Patagonia must possess both a winter camp and summer camp. The
winter camp is land available for pasturage which is protected from the
fierce winds and where the snow does not fall too deep for the sheep to
get at the grass, as no provender is put up for them. The summer camp is
any other grazing land which is so exposed that sheep could not feed on
it during the winter. From this it may easily be seen that the number of
sheep that can be maintained is determined not by the total acreage, but
by the extent of winter camp. Even under the best conditions an unusually
severe winter greatly decimates a flock. At the end of winter the
shepherds always go out over the ranch, taking the pelts off the bodies
of the animals that have perished during the winter. Another feature to
be sought is accessibility for the bringing in of supplies and taking out
of the wool. For this reason most of the ranches are located near the
rivers so that boats can be used. From some places in the interior it is
a trip occupying days and weeks for the ranchman to transport the wool to
market.

[Illustration: A SHEEP DIP]

The _estancia_ buildings are usually insignificant affairs, for all the
material has to be brought long distances. One of the most distinctive
features is a large square corral into which the stock can be driven, and
the miles upon miles of wire fencing which spread out across the plains
in a thin line. Every farm has its own store, where the men get their
supplies at good prices. The “scab” is one of the enemies of the sheep
here, as elsewhere, and the ranchers constantly fight it. The “dip” is
usually employed, in which the sheep are washed several times each year.
It is expensive to keep the sheep free from this troublesome little
parasite, which spreads so rapidly, but it must be done, for it will eat
into the flesh and the sheep will frequently die before many days after
infection. The dip fluid is placed in large vats so deep that the sheep
must swim in order to get through it, and they are then driven into it
at one end and emerge on a dripping board at the other side, where they
are allowed to remain for a few minutes for the “dip” to drip and run
back into the pool. The cost of running a sheep ranch in Patagonia is
comparatively small because of the low value of the land and low wages
paid.

It is not difficult to leave civilization behind in Patagonia. For
hundreds of miles in the interior there are few pioneers and only an
occasional tribe of wandering Indians. Otherwise it is absolutely
unpeopled. Near the Cordilleras it is practically houseless; scarcely a
human inhabitant can be found, and little animal life flourishes under
the snow peaks and in the unmeasured spaces of virgin forest. There are
hundreds of square miles of forest land, gorges, open slopes and terraced
hollows, on which the eye of a white man has never yet fallen.

For the traveller across this vast land it is necessary to take a supply
of food and an entire camp outfit, including a reliable guide. A man
alone seems very puny within this vast setting. The wind-blown grass
stretches out as far as the eye can see, with the thorn and a green
shrub called “poison-bush” for variety. In other places the surface
undulates in graceful monotony, and occasionally a swift-flowing river
cuts across the plains on its impatient way to the sea. Mirages like
lakes or squadrons of cavalry will often be seen near the horizon.
Many long reaches are almost desert wastes and are known as the “land
without water.” Over the sterile wastes the cold winds from the Andes
sweep and raise great dust and sand storms which are almost blinding and
suffocating.

Herds of wild cattle are found in some places, although not in such
numbers as the stories that are sometimes heard down in that region
would lead one to believe. The guanaco is the principal game animal,
and helps out the traveller in the way of food. This animal is very much
like a wild llama and they are found by the thousands, although generally
in small herds. They look very picturesque when seen in an attentive
attitude, with their long sleek necks stretched out in inquiry or
curiosity. Wild ostriches may also be found in many parts, while duck and
geese are generally plentiful where there is water. Of the wild animals
the puma is the most dangerous, and will sometimes attack a man. He is
a terrible foe to the sheep farmer, levying heavy toll upon his flocks
before strychnine or a bullet puts an end to his career. The wolf is
another enemy of the farmer. The curious armadillo is quite common, and
is considered very good eating by the hunter.

Lake Buenos Aires is one of the big lakes of Patagonia. One writer,
who spent several weeks in that vicinity, says: “Lake Buenos Aires is
certainly the very heart of the wind’s domain. While we were there the
wind never died down; it blew all the time, often lifting sand and
gravel, and sometimes a great piece of our camp fire, sheltered as that
was. It raged on most days, blowing so hard that most people in England
would not have cared to venture out of doors.” This lake is the largest
of a chain of lakes which lie in the foothills of the great Andes system.
It is fully seventy-five miles in length from north to south, and its
waters are in perpetual motion from the action of the winds. Near the
lake is a stretch of arid land that is the very picture of desolation.
There is a very horror of bareness about it that almost makes the eyes
sick to look upon it. Right near it is one of those sudden contrasts that
one will find in Patagonia, fine and fertile land where sweet flowers
bloom in profusion. Lake Argentine is another large lake to the south of
the other. It is a great sheet of blue water, is higher up, and the peaks
of the Cordilleras are nearer. This lake and those farther south are
often filled with small icebergs, for the climate is getting colder all
the way.

At almost the southernmost point of the mainland lies the little city of
Punta Arenas. It is situated on the Straits of Magellan, and is sheltered
from the worst storms by the many islands which lie between it and the
Antarctic seas. Punta Arenas is the most southerly city in the world,
several hundred miles farther south than the Cape of Good Hope. There
is plenty of building space left in this city, but a few years ago, when
the boom was on, the people had visions of a southern Chicago. Fabulous
prices were asked for building lots and real estate agents were almost as
plentiful as the Indians. That time has passed and the town has dwindled.
Its latitude is about that of Labrador, but it is much more equable and
is not so severe as many imagine. Perhaps fifteen thousand people live
here and seem to be contented. It is a very mixed population. You can
hear Spanish, English, German, Italian, Russian and even the Chinese
mingled with the guttural tongues of the Indians. The Scotch are probably
the most thrifty of the inhabitants and many of them have lived there two
or three generations. There are many rough characters, some even who have
drifted from the mining camps of our western states. The loafing places
are the bars, where many brawls occur during the long winters. There are
clubs, however, where the well-to-do gather and have their games and
drink their favourite drinks just as they do the world over. Most of the
buildings are cheap one-story affairs, frequently built of the corrugated
iron so common in this land. Punta Arenas is a free port, and this
makes it a great supply station for vessels passing through the straits.
All the vessels passing through the straits call there for supplies and
coal, and this business, together with the trade in whaling products,
wool and furs, furnish the inhabitants with employment. It is one of the
great wool-exporting ports of the world, having shipped more than sixteen
million pounds of that commodity in a single season, and four hundred
thousand pelts. It is a beautiful ride through the Straits of Magellan,
with their many narrow channels, and the icebergs, which are always in
view.

[Illustration: NATIVE INDIANS OF PATAGONIA]

Out upon the pampas the traveller will occasionally stumble upon the
_toldos_ (huts) of the Tehuelche Indians. These are simply made huts
of the skins of the guanaco sewn loosely together at the edges, and
supported squarely upon awkward-looking props or posts forked at the top
to admit the ridge poles. The skins are fastened to the earth by wooden
pegs. The Tehuelches are the native Indians of Patagonia—the so-called
giants—and are well built specimens of manhood. These Indians live almost
as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. They are still nomads and
exist entirely by the chase. They do not cultivate anything whatever,
but sometimes own a few cattle. In general they still dress in skins,
although some of them have purchased store clothes at the settlements. As
a rule they are mild mannered, when sober, and do not deserve the name of
being bloodthirsty savages. Their numbers have greatly decreased since
the first discovery of Patagonia through dissipation and disease, and
some have estimated that the total number yet remaining will not exceed a
few hundred. They still hunt with bows and arrows and the _bolas_. This
consists of three thongs of rawhide fastened together at one end, with
stones or bits of iron on the free end to give them weight. The Indian
throws the _bolas_ with marvellous accuracy at any animal he may be
pursuing, and the thongs wind themselves around the legs of the animal,
thus entangling it. The principal game animal is the guanaco, which
furnishes them food, raiment and shelter, and skins which they can barter
with the trader for fire-water or other luxuries.

They are an ignorant and superstitious race. A death will invariably
cause them to shift their camp, for to their superstitious minds the
place must be accursed. Sickness is always the work of the evil spirit
and is driven away by incantations. With them there are good spirits and
bad devils. The dominant spirit of evil is called Gualicho. He is an
ever-present terror, and they spend a good portion of the time in either
fleeing from his wrath or propitiating it. They believe in a future life
which will be much the same as the earthly one, except that there will
always be plenty of food with an abundance of grease.

There are practically no tribal laws, as the Tehuelches are usually
peaceable. Quarrels and fights occur only as a result of drink. Polygamy
is permitted but is uncommon. The women are well treated, although they
have the bulk of the work to do as among all primitive tribes. The men
practically live on their horses and a Tehuelche is lost without a steed.
The women are not at all overburdened with beauty. Progress does not
appeal to the Tehuelche. As his forefathers were, so is he content to
be—a human atom with a movable home, passing hither and thither upon the
waste and dreary spaces of his native land. He is silent when in the
presence of strangers, dignified at all times; unobtrusive as well as
inoffensive, and very lazy. He does not particularly care to mingle with
white people, but will not run away from them.

[Illustration: USELESS BAY, TIERRA DEL FUEGO]

The Fuegian Archipelago, that little known group of islands at the
southern extremity of South America, covers a goodly territory. It
contains as much land as Nebraska, and is several hundred miles long
from east to west. A perfect labyrinth of tortuous, wind-swept waterways
separate the hundreds of islands which form this group. They are no doubt
formed by the submerging of the lower end of the Andes Mountains. When
the land sank these stormy waters beat through the valleys and chiselled
the shores into incongruous shapes and labyrinths. They are not all a
desolate mass of ice and snow, however, but contain plains which are
covered with succulent grasses and slopes which are thickly wooded. The
largest island, called Tierra del Fuego, is half as large as Illinois. It
is divided longitudinally between Chile and Argentina, by far the largest
portion belonging to the former nation, and the best part of it too. This
name was originally given to the entire group of islands by Magellan
when he saw the trails of smoke made by the camp and signal fires of the
natives who dwelt on them.

Thirty years ago this entire island was roamed and hunted over by the
aborigines. The fact that the northern part consisted of open country,
with few ranges of hills, caused the white man to look upon it with
envious eyes, as pasturage for sheep. Then began a warfare against the
Indians which almost resulted in their extermination. Thousands of sheep
now quietly graze in the rich valleys and on the verdant plains, and
thrive very well indeed. Very little of the land is cultivated, although
perhaps susceptible of cultivation, but the marketing of the products
would be a difficult feature at the present time, and the season is
short. Its latitude is about that of Labrador but the climate is probably
milder, and its longitude is that of Boston. In the summer the grass is
green, but in the winter the chilly winds change it to a rich brown. The
ground rats are a terrible nuisance to the farmer, as they burrow in the
fields so much that they destroy half the usefulness of a good meadow.
The mountain slopes are covered with a thick growth of trees, ferns and
mosses up to a height of a thousand feet or more, due to the great amount
of rainfall, but above that distance the growth is very stunted. It seems
strange to see green trees and green grasses amid snows and glaciers,
but such is the contrast offered by this “land of the fire.” The trees
are mostly evergreen, not very high, but very close together. A deep bed
of moss, into which a man may sink knee-deep, generally surrounds them,
and large ferns with leaves a yard long grow in places otherwise bare.
Even bright flowers make this sombre landscape seem almost gay when the
sun shines on a summer day.

Desolation Island, on the Chilean side, is a bleak and barren island well
indicated by its name, while others are Clarence, St. Inas, and Navarin.
There are many others, from islands twenty miles in length to some so
small that a good base-ball pitcher could toss a stone clear over them.
Cape Horn is a monster rock which thrusts its jagged outline into the
Antarctic seas. It is a couple of hundred miles south of the Straits of
Magellan, and more than a thousand miles south of the Cape of Good Hope.
It is surrounded by waters that are tossed by terrific storms which
mariners fear. The hulks of wrecked vessels can be seen on every hand as
reminders of the terrible tribute which has been here levied. Even in
the Straits of Magellan the glaciers are always in sight, and masses of
ice hundreds of feet high are frequently seen, seeming to threaten the
venturesome mariner for invading those beautiful waters. It is sometimes
impossible for vessels to force their way through the Smythe Channel,
which is the most picturesque route through the Straits, but is least
used. There is not much animal life except seals, with occasionally a
whale, but wild ducks and geese are generally plentiful.

Midway on the southern coast of Tierra del Fuego, and on the Argentine
side, is a bleak and inhospitable coast upon which the government has
established a prison. This place, named Ushuaia, is the southernmost
settlement in the world. The barriers created by nature are impassable
without the massive and forbidding walls erected by man. To the south is
the unknown Antarctic, to the north the impassable barrier of snow-clad
peaks, and in all other directions the fathomless channels separating,
it from the other islands. With the exception of the irregular trip of a
small steamer from Punta Arenas and an occasional visit from an Argentine
warship, this little settlement is unvisited, and not even a telephone
or telegraph wire keeps it in communication with the world. There are
two prisons here—one for military and one for civil prisoners. In one are
the offenders of the Argentine army, and in the other several hundred
criminals, many of whom are the very dregs of humanity sent down here
from Buenos Aires. Here in this unknown quarter of the globe, guarded by
a few score of armed men, these unfortunates work on the roads, dress
stone for new and stronger walls, or make the coarse garments worn by
the prisoners. Few attempt to escape, and fewer still succeed, for
the loneliness and desolation alone would keep a prisoner where human
companionship might be found. There is little danger of a prisoner
escaping if he attempts, as there would be no means of a wanderer
supporting himself.

There are two races of Indians who inhabit these inhospitable islands,
the Yahgans and the Onas, both of whom are very low in intelligence.
Even though the climate is very cold a part of the year, these savages
formerly wore very little clothing, but greased their bodies with fish
oil that keeps out the cold. In recent years, however, they have begun to
wear warmer garments. They are very treacherous, and many murders have
been traced to them. They will mingle very little with white people,
but always hold themselves aloof. Their houses are of the most primitive
character and are frequently little more than a hole in the ground or
side of a hill, or a rude construction of brush on a skeleton of sticks
stuck in the ground. Sometimes they are made of guanaco skins sewn
together, from which the hair has been removed. They are not particular
about food, as to whether it is very fresh or not. They live entirely by
the chase and fishing, and in every way are as near to primitive savages
as it would be possible to find in the Americas. There is frequently a
dearth of food, and then it is that they are driven to eat the flesh
of a stranded whale or of an animal found dead. Ground rats and the
fishy-flavoured penguin are included on their regular bill of fare. As
usual among savage tribes, the women do the most of the work, and assist
in the hunting and fishing as well as prepare the meat after it has once
been caught.

The Yahgans are short and muscular and below medium height. Their
lower limbs seem rather stunted, but above the waist they are heavily
built. The Onas are better built and will average above the American in
stature. They are strong and well built specimens of the human race.
The struggle for existence has made them inexpressive in feature and
stoical in actions. Good fortune or ill fortune is met in much the same
way. Their settlements are now usually found in the regions which have
not attracted the white men. On these islands and the southern part
of the largest island where it is not rock, there is generally bog or
impenetrable forest, and here these pristine people dwell.



CHAPTER VIII

CROSSING THE CONTINENT


At Retiro station in Buenos Aires one takes the tri-weekly
transcontinental train for the ride across the continent. “B. A. P.”
upon the coaches stands for Buenos Aires and Pacific, which is the line
that carries the traveller to the limits of Argentine territory. The
gong strikes, the Argentinians who have gathered to see their friends
away on this long journey wave their adieus and the train slowly pulls
out without the clanging of an engine bell, with which these British
locomotives are not provided. The passengers are all leisurely in their
preparations for the journey, and one will seldom see the spectacle of a
woman grabbing a box in one hand and a struggling child in the other and
rushing frantically for her car. There is usually plenty of room, and
whether there is or not the passenger takes his own time.

The trains on this line are very comfortable, although one misses the
luxurious Pullmans of the United States. All the passenger coaches are
compartment sleepers, and one diner is attached. There is no smoking
or observation car, so that the solitary traveller oftentimes finds it
lonesome, but smoking is permitted everywhere except in the dining-car,
where gentlemen are requested not to smoke “when the _señoras_ are
present.” Some of the passengers gather in the diner after the tables
have been cleared and talk or play games. The diner has good service
and the only trouble is to keep the dust out of your food. A good meal
of several courses is furnished in this _comedor_ for two Argentine
pesos. All of the diners of course have a bar, so that no one need to go
thirsty, whatever his needs or demands may be.

The passengers on this train are always a mixed crowd. One will find
tourists from many countries, English or German engineers, Chilean
business men, Argentine _estancieros_, half-breed gauchos in their
picturesque trappings, etc., etc. A half-dozen languages will greet one’s
ears in the corridors. This feature is, however, one of the pleasures of
such a trip. One will begin to speculate about his fellow passengers, and
then as he meets them he will learn how far his conjectures come true.
He will also learn that this is one of the meeting places of the four
quarters of the globe.

One of the chief discomforts in riding across these plains is the dust
which sifts in through the windows and doors at times until it is almost
stifling. Then again a baby _pampero_ may come up and blow almost with
the force of a hurricane. A Kansas blizzard is hardly equal to it in
force and velocity. The dust at times comes in such clouds that it makes
difficult work for the section-hands, for it must be removed from the
track. I have heard stories of the real, simon-pure _pampero_, which
comes up from the Patagonia plains, blowing cars off the track, and the
propelling of cars by means of a sail hoisted up on the car. One thing is
sure, it is decidedly unpleasant and will so fill your mouth with dust
that you feel you are continually chewing sand.

The real _pampero_ generally follows a drouth and is preceded by a
few days of extreme heat. At last a cloud appears on the pampas which
looks like a great woolly ball set in a frame of gold. The dust of the
road begins to fly and whirl about in little eddies. Bird and beast
seek shelter and the people may be seen scurrying in every direction.
Millions of insects scud past in the clouds of fine dust. The lightning
flashes in sheets and forks, and the thunder seems to shake the very
earth. Then comes the welcome rain, not in drops but in sheets, and
mingled with it hailstones big as nuts. A few minutes after the rain
ceases and the sun shines in a tranquil, cloudless sky. The atmosphere is
so transparent that one can see almost incredible distances. The people
breathe in deep draughts of the delicious air, the blood circulates
freely and one feels as though he had renewed his lease on life.

One could scarcely imagine an easier country through which to build a
railroad than across these pampas. Not only is it level but a shallow
excavation gives a solid road-bed which needs little ballast. The work
has mostly been done by Italian gangs who are employed by contractors.
One can see their camps in many places. They live in small “A” tents and
a car fitted out as commissary wagon is labelled the _provideria_. It is
really a small department store on wheels, where almost anything can be
purchased at reasonable prices.

The line from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, six hundred and fifty-five miles
in length, is built on the broad gauge so common in Argentina. For
several hundred miles after leaving Buenos Aires the country is as level
as a barn floor, and the train traverses fertile fields in which wheat,
corn and grazing lands alternate. One will pass through corn fields miles
in length and then wheat fields still larger; and following these the
alfalfa pasture will extend clear to the horizon, with immense herds of
cattle dotting it until, in the distance, where earth and sky meet, the
largest animals appear as mere specks on the landscape.

One is impressed with the great agricultural resources of Argentina,
for only a small portion of this part of the republic is uncultivated.
All of it is owned in large _estancias_ that are measured by the square
league, which comprises almost six thousand acres. The man with only one
square league is a small farmer, and many of the _estancias_ measure ten
square leagues, or even more. Statistics show that among the one hundred
thousand reported landowners there is an average holding of six square
miles. The locusts are a terrible curse for the farmer, and they were
very bad last season. I saw millions of them in crossing the pampas.
It costs these ranch men thousands of dollars each year to fight this
scourge of locusts, and as yet no permanent remedy has been discovered.

The road runs nearly due west. An insane asylum called “The Open Door”
is passed about forty miles out from the metropolis. A number of Camp
towns, such as Mercedes, Chacabuco and Vedia, are passed, but none of
them are attractive places. At the latter place the province of Santa Fé
is entered, and a number of small towns are passed before the province of
Cordoba is reached. Several branch lines shoot off to the south, which
are feeders thus thrust out for freight, and branches of other lines run
in from the north. Villa Mercedes, four hundred and thirty-two miles from
Buenos Aires, is the first large town. The land has begun to rise and
this town is sixteen hundred feet above sea level, although the aspect is
still that of plains. It is situated on the Rio Quinto, and is a place of
perhaps ten thousand people. This used to be the terminus of this line
until it absorbed the Great Western a few years ago, which continued the
westward route. It is one of the concentration camps for the instruction
of conscripts drafted into the artillery regiments.

The broad pampas are perhaps not so lonely as they seem, for there is
generally an abundance of bird life. Flamingoes haunt the lagoons,
and long-tailed hawks sit like silent sentinels on the fence posts.
The largest bird is the ostrich, of which there are tens of thousands
scattered over these broad leagues, which have not yet been broken up by
agriculture. In the entire republic it is estimated that there are more
than four hundred thousand ostriches. They will feed among the stock,
but the agriculturist soon makes them disappear. These long-necked and
long-legged birds form a very pretty addition to the landscape. The
South American ostrich is smaller than the South African species, and
its feathers are not nearly so valuable. They are extremely abundant,
however, and bring in a pleasing revenue for the farmer. The feather
gatherers bargain with the _estanciero_ to pay him so much for each bird
found and picked on his _estancia_. Many of the ostriches are very tame,
for the owners do not allow them to be hunted, but they roam at will,
easily getting over the low fences that hedge in the fields. In some
places the South African ostriches have been introduced and are raised
for the commercial value of their plumes.

The next place of importance is San Luis, capital of the province of
that name, at a still higher elevation. The dead level aspect has now
changed to gentle undulations. The long gray shadows on the horizon are
the peaks of the Andes, at a distance of one hundred and fifty miles.
In this city there has recently been located an observatory by the
Carnegie Institution of Washington. The purpose of this observatory
is to observe the motion of all stars of the seventh magnitude in the
southern heavens, and several American scientists are in charge of the
work. A few miles beyond San Luis is an artesian well two thousand feet
deep, which was sunk by the government and yields an immense supply of
water. The pampa grass now stands in clumps and bare spots become more
frequent. The railroad changes its direction time and again instead of
taking a bee-line for some distant point. The stony character of the soil
increases, but at last a land of vines and tall poplars is entered, and
it is not long until the train rolls into the station at Mendoza.

“Hotel Grande.”

This was the instruction I gave to my cab driver at the station in
Mendoza after my baggage had been deposited in the vehicle by a
_portero_.

“No hay,” he answered, meaning that there was no such hotel.

I then told him to take me to the best hotel in the city. When we arrived
at the hotel selected by him I saw an imposing building on the opposite
side of the plaza with “Hotel Grande” upon it in large letters, and
instructed my Jehu to drive me over to it. The secret of the matter is
that the other hotel paid the driver a peso for each guest. There is
only one good thing to be said about the cabs in Mendoza, and that is,
the fares are cheap—if you know the established rates. A few years ago
a tramway company laid tracks and began operations. Enraged at this
intrusion upon their rights the cab owners began a war of fares. They
lowered their charges to the level of the rates of the tram line, and
announced that they would carry passengers to their very doors for the
same price as the street car line would deposit them at the nearest
corner, which might be blocks away. The deserted and abandoned rails
which one may see in a few places proclaim the glorious victory of
the cab owners. Although the fares have advanced somewhat since the
abandonment of the street railroad they are still remarkably low.

[Illustration: A GLIMPSE OF THE ANDES FROM MENDOZA]

Mendoza is one of the most picturesque cities in Argentina. It is an
oasis in the midst of a stony desert. There is hardly a drier climate
in the world, and, where the rainfall alone is depended upon, nothing
will grow. Lying at the very foot of the lofty Andes range, it is the
westernmost city of the republic. The streets are quite wide and the
buildings are almost without exception of one story. The reason for
this is the earthquake. The greatest disaster of that kind happened in
1861, and the inhabitants have been haunted ever since by fear of a
return of such a holocaust. The tremors which occasionally occur are a
constant reminder of the dangers; and the ruins of the great cathedral,
whose walls crashed down upon the crowd of supplicants who had gathered
within for protection, still stand as a warning. Reports vary greatly
concerning that disaster. The most generally credited figures are that
of a population of twenty thousand no less than twelve thousand met
with death. It is difficult to believe, in the face of similar modern
disasters, that any such proportion of fatalities occurred either from
the earthquake, the fires that followed or the lawlessness which
prevailed in the confusion of the next few days. It is said that many
fell victims to the assassin’s knife when they were trying to escape
with their few earthly belongings. The new houses have all been built
of mud bricks with an extra amount of straw or cane mixed in, and the
one-storied walls are made very thick. The result is an elasticity that
is considerable of a safeguard against the earth’s tremblings.

The old ruined town lies about a mile from the new town and is a mass
of ruins, scarcely a single house remaining intact. There is something
sadly depressing about these heaps of fallen stones, broken arches and
sightless windows—relics of the old Spanish-Moorish architecture. The old
city covered about two hundred acres and contained seven churches and
three convents. The first shocks levelled almost every building to the
ground. They are a place of frequent pilgrimage and one may still find
burning candles in nooks and corners, placed there by devout relatives of
those who were hurled unshriven into the beyond. Surely purgatory cannot
long retain the souls of those who were overtaken by death while at
worship, even though they were unprepared to leave this world.

The centre of the town is the broad Avenue de San Martin, the alameda,
with its double row of trees and the stream of water that runs on either
side of the roadway. Were it not for this shade and the running water,
the streets of Mendoza would be pretty hot in the middle of the day.
Down this wide, cobblestoned street the Mendozians have their _corso_,
or carriage drive, and one will see victorias with bells on the tongue
wedged in with two-wheeled country carts, and all other kinds of
vehicles. Happy farmers and the distinguished citizens of Mendoza mingle
together on this occasion. There is a certain kind of provincial good
humour about this little city so near the lonely Andes. Small boys armed
with buckets on long poles dip the water from the canals and fling it
across the thoroughfare. On Monday morning, or following a _fiesta_, this
battle with the dust is conducted by a lot of shame-faced men who are
not volunteers or employees of the city, but are working out a fine for
the previous day’s debauch. The city also possesses a very pretty park
besides a number of plazas. There is considerable street life in the
city, and the cafés afford evidence of this, for they are wont to spread
their tables far out under the trees in this genial climate.

Mendoza is not a temperance resort, for it is a great wine centre. This
is the country of the grape, and it is this fruit that has brought
wealth to Mendoza. All about the city are vineyards and meadows, and the
outlines of the farms are marked by rows upon rows of graceful poplars.
Millions of those poplars have beautified this country, which at one
time was a barren waste, and would still be so were it not that man has
harnessed the streams formed from the melting snows which rush down from
the snow-clad peaks. Irrigation was first established by the Spaniards
several hundred years ago, but it has been extended and systematized by
the grape growers in recent years. Dams have been built across the rivers
and the waters forced through artificial channels, until now there are
more than twelve hundred miles of these channels, which water a district
of approximately one thousand square miles.

As soon as you leave the city you will see the grapevines growing. Some
are trained upon a low prop, as in France or Germany, others climb a
staff and look like hops, while many vines creep up the poplar trees and
stretch their tendrils across to the next tree, so that the tree trunks
are all connected and form a cool, vine-covered lane for hundreds of
rods. The vines are thus trained to form cool drives for the owners, and
they are especially seductive when the great bunches of ripe fruit hang
just high enough out of reach to be tantalizing. Little canals trickle
here, there and everywhere among the fields of vines, and thus keep the
roots ever moist. The prosperity of Mendoza is bound up in these tiny
little streams, which give life to the grape, the onion and potato, for
it seldom rains here. The day of my visit the sky became overcast with
dark, foreboding clouds, as though a terrific storm was threatening. I
hesitated to venture forth. The landlord said, “It looks this way nearly
every day but it never rains.” I found out this statement was true and
that rain is a rare event.

The development of the wine industry in the Mendoza district has been
almost phenomenal. The greater part of the wine produced is not of a
high quality, so that it appeals only to the masses and not to the
connoisseur. The wealthier classes are satisfied with nothing less than
the finest of European wines and champagnes. The quality of the grapes
produced is of the finest, and the very best European varieties have
been imported. The profits in some years are almost fabulous, for a few
acres will bring in a handsome return. Some of the wine-manufacturing
establishments are quite large and produce great quantities of that
liquor so popular in all Spanish countries. The presses, vats, casks and
everything in them is of the latest design. One will find wines leaving
these establishments with Bordeaux, Burgundy, Moselle and Muscatel
labels. It is shipped in both cask and bottle, and one will see high
ox-carts and cumbersome wagons loaded with large casks on their way to
the railroad station on almost any road leading to Mendoza. Thousands of
tons of the grapes are shipped each year in the fruit form, for it is a
peculiarly luscious growth and the bunches attain enormous size. Other
fruits have been found to grow equally well at Mendoza and fruit canning
is becoming quite an industry there. Peaches, pears and plums grow to
good size and of good flavour, while apples, quinces and cherries do
very well. The fruit culture is spread over a wide area of country and
the culture is rapidly increasing. It is the boast of the Argentinian
that the country is capable of producing every conceivable species of
fruit, and it is not an idle boast. If the same care was taken that they
give that industry in California they could flood the markets of Europe
with their fruits. The general trouble is that the trees grow so easily
that they are practically unaided, so that the fruit is oftentimes full
of flaws and will not pass for prime quality in the markets. Grapes are
about the only fruit to which scientific methods of culture have as yet
been applied.

At Mendoza a change is made to the less comfortable narrow-gauge train,
which conveys the traveller through the fastnesses of the Andes. The
mountains are now plainly visible and the snow peaks can easily be
distinguished from the dark background. The route leads first through
grape and peach orchards, but these soon give place to the cactus and
scrub growth which cling to the foothills. The Mendoza River, fed by the
melting snows, tumbles along on its way down from the mountains and is
crossed and recrossed many times. An occasional station is a somewhat
forlorn outpost of human life. It consists principally of a water-tank
and pile of fuel. The sole occupants visible are usually a woman, some
children and a few goats, for the master of the house is probably
at work. The solitudes are broken only by the shrill whistle of the
locomotive. One enters a land of torrents, chasms, precipices and other
freaky outbursts of nature.

At a distance of about one hundred miles from Mendoza is the Puente del
Inca, Bridge of the Incas, one of the famous natural bridges of the
world, and near it are some mineral springs and a hotel. This bridge is
of limestone formation, the span being about one hundred and fifty feet
in length, with a width of one hundred and twenty feet, and is about
sixty feet above the Mendoza River, which flows beneath. There are many
legends and tales which are told about this curious bridge, so named
because it is said to have been on an old trail used by those ancient
people.

[Illustration: CROSSING THE ANDES]

A little further on is the station of Las Cuevas, the last stop in
Argentine territory and the entrance to the tunnel under the mountain.
The elevation at this place is in excess of ten thousand feet. There is
a certain weird fascination about this spot so high up and seemingly
so remote from all the hustle and bustle of the twentieth century. It
is a place of contrariety. The contrast between light and shade and
the different colours is very marked. There is no delicate and gentle
shading of tints. There may be a black wall surmounted by the clear white
snow; near by will be other rock walls, pinnacles or spires of green,
violet, pink, blue or yellow. It is as though nature had set up a great
kaleidoscope between the sun and the bulwark of rocks in order to flood
this valley with colour.

When I crossed the Andes it was just a few weeks before the tunnel was
opened to traffic. In early days this intervening distance between
railhead was covered on foot or in the saddle. Later came the broad,
white-covered four-horse coaches which conveyed our party. Five hundred
horses and mules, many carriages and baggage wagons and a considerable
force of men were maintained for this service. Four times the air-line
distance is covered in reaching the highest point on either side.
Extra riders with a hitch rope to assist a stalled vehicle follow the
carriages. The manager, who was an American, and his guards, took short
cuts and appeared in the most unexpected places. Scrambling, twisting and
turning, the cavalcade mounted higher and higher, and the air became
so cold that a heavy wrap felt comfortable. The air was wonderfully
clear, and the distant mountain peaks were clearly outlined against the
turquoise blue of the heavens. As the long line of carriages winding
their way up the zigzag trail neared the summit, a sharp turn in the
road suddenly revealed a striking statue outlined against the sky, and
a feeling almost of awe fell upon us. While the carriages were stopped
for the driver to examine the harness preparatory to the descent, the
passengers gazed in silent admiration upon this monument. Lofty peaks
lifted up their weird masses of black basaltic rock and dazzling snow
into the clear blue of the Andean sky, among which were Aconcagua and
Tupungato, which were clearly visible if one had a sharp and quick eye.

“Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust than the people of
Argentina and Chile break the peace to which they have pledged themselves
at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.”

[Illustration: “THE CHRIST OF THE ANDES”]

This is the inscription that appears on one of the tablets placed on the
monument known as “The Christ of the Andes.” I know of no other monument,
except the statue of Liberty enlightening the World, in the New York
harbour, that is so imposing or impressive as this colossal statue,
which is placed on a gigantic column in a pass almost thirteen thousand
feet above the level of the sea. The silence and grandeur on all sides
make it doubly impressive. The figure of Christ is twenty-six feet in
height. In one hand it holds a cross, while the other is extended in a
blessing, and as if uttering the one magic word “peace.” It was erected
as a symbol of perpetual peace between the two nations, and was cast
in bronze from the melted cannon of the two nations. Its location is
on the international boundary line, which had just been established by
arbitration, after war between these two countries seemed inevitable. A
boundary standard has been set up right near it with the word “CHILE” on
one side and “ARGENTINA” on the other. When this monument was dedicated,
on the 13th of March, 1904, more than three thousand persons witnessed
the ceremonies in this wild region. The appalling silence was broken by
the roar of cannon and the music of bands. After these sounds had died
away in the distance, there came the words of the Bishop of Ancud: “Not
only to Argentina and Chile do we dedicate this monument, but to the
world, that from this it may learn the lesson of universal peace.” Now
that the railroad is completed these sturdy little animals have made
their last trip, and fewer people will gaze upon this striking monument.
The peon with a mail bag strapped on his back has tramped his way for the
last time down the rocky trail in the winter snows. _El Christo_ stands
among the lonely crags, deserted, isolated and storm-swept, but ever with
a noble dignity befitting the character.

The Chilean terminus of the tunnel is at Caracoles. From here another
railroad of metre gauge, called the Trasandino Chileno, carries the
traveller to the station of Los Andes. It has been found necessary to
construct snow-sheds in many places in order to protect the track from
snow-slides, which are likely to occur in August and September. From Los
Andes to Valparaiso the route is over the Chilean State Railroad, which
is of standard gauge, and passes through some rich and fertile valleys on
its way towards the Pacific.

The scenery on the Chilean side is grandly picturesque and affords
some magnificent views of mountain scenery. There are one hundred and
eighteen bridges, an average of more than two bridges to the mile, from
Caracoles to Los Andes. At El Portillo is the rock-bordered Inca Lake, on
whose surface is reflected the mountains which slope abruptly into its
waters. Masses of rock seem poised on ledges ready to project themselves
down into the valleys with destruction in their path. One of the most
wonderful sights is a narrow gorge, very deep, which forms the bed of a
swift stream. At one place the overhanging rocks nearly meet, and this is
called the Salto del Soldado, the Soldier’s Leap. It received this name
because it is said that, during the early struggles for independence, a
Chilean soldier, pursued by the enemy, escaped by leaping his horse over
this chasm. How true the tale is I do not know, but it is a striking
freak of nature, and is plainly visible from the train. There are in all
one hundred and forty miles of the sublime in nature on the transandine
railways, which will compare with any mountain railroad in the world,
although the most sublime part, hitherto crossed by wagons or mules, will
not be visible from the international express.

The Cordilleras of the Andes are formed of three distinct ranges running
north and south. The western range forms the watershed and is the
boundary line between Argentina and Chile, while the central range
contains the highest peaks, Aconcagua, Mercedario and Tupungato. The
eastern range is divided from the central one by a wide plain or plateau,
several miles broad, known as the Uspallata, which is some six thousand
feet above sea level and is one hundred and fifty miles long from Mendoza
north. Without lakes or trees, this plain is one of the most desolate
and uninteresting spots imaginable, but the varied colouring of the
stratification is marvellous. This lower range conceals the higher peaks
from view as one approaches from the Argentine side.

As one proceeds from Mendoza the upper valley begins to close in and the
track pierces the main range of the Cordilleras between walls of porphyry
and granite. To the north one gets at last a glimpse of Aconcagua some
twenty-three thousand and eighty feet above sea level, and higher than
any peak outside of the Himalayas. It is more than ninety miles from the
Pacific and can be seen on a clear day from Valparaiso, for its lofty
head is lifted up above its neighbours. It is on the Argentine side, and
all the melted ice and snow from its slopes pours down over the pampas
of that country. It is surrounded by winding valleys, by rugged and
precipitous spurs and ridges which are difficult of access. One of the
best views is from the Puente del Inca where the Horcones Valley opens
out into the Cuevas Valley. It has been termed a volcano, but there are
no signs of a crater and few traces of scoriæ. To the north of Aconcagua
lies the Mercaderio, over twenty-two thousand feet, and to the south
Tupungato, just a few feet lower. On the Chilean side, near the Cumbre,
is Juncal (19,500 feet), and near it are the peaks of Pollera, Navarro,
Maipo and the great volcano of San José.

The most striking aspect of these Andean solitudes is their terribly
bleak and desolate appearance. Trees there are none, but only a few
shrubs and blades of grass growing in the clefts of rocks here and there;
nothing but a huge expanse of yellow sand and stone, with peaks rising on
every hand whose extraordinary stratification presents many-coloured hues
which are almost bewildering to the eye. Great torrents flow down their
sides whose waters are of a dull, brackish colour. These are exceedingly
rapid and full of dangerous holes, so that the fording of them is
perilous. The line of perpetual snow is about seventeen thousand feet,
although this varies. In the spring there is a very curious phenomenon
at times on the glaciers and snow slopes. It consists of huge fields
composed of cones, or pyramids, of frozen snow, some four or five feet
high, placed close beside each other. These cones are called the _nieve
penitente_, or penitent snow, because of its semblance to the cowled
Penitent Friars. This effect is caused by the combined action of the sun
and wind upon the frozen masses.

Aconcagua is distant about a dozen miles from the Inca or Cuevas. The
weather, however, is uncertain even in summer, and a terrible wind
usually prevails after sunrise. These render exploration work difficult
and even dangerous. In the winter the snowfall is excessive. In the
summer there is no snowfall and the wind blows the dust from the
desert-like valleys in stifling clouds, which are oftentimes almost
unendurable. Storms which are almost blizzards spring up as by magic on
the high altitudes. The lightning is especially vivid and dangerous.

The pass of the Cumbre is one of the most dangerous passes because of its
fearful storms. Every few miles there are the dome-shaped _casuchas_,
which have been built for shelter, with their doorways perched up high
above the ground as a precaution against being snowed under. In one of
the most dangerous parts is a little graveyard by the roadside, with
numerous little wooden crosses in various stages of decay which bear
eloquent testimony to the toll which has been demanded by the storm king.

The _arrieros_, or mule drivers, that one may engage, never set foot on
the ground if they can avoid it. It would, I suppose, be a loss of caste
to walk, and they would rather ride their horses over a precipice than
humiliate themselves by getting off and walking. The general appearance
of these _arrieros_ is decidedly picturesque, is certainly distinctive
and gives them a rather striking appearance. They ride an old-fashioned
Mexican saddle with a number of sheepskins strapped over the top of it.
They generally have their feet encased in soft slippers made of a square
piece of rawhide strapped on the foot by leather thongs, which would
certainly make walking over stones decidedly uncomfortable. They are fond
of silver trappings and gaudy accoutrements, and the more jingling these
accessories make the better pleased is the rider, for he declares that
this noise encourages the animals.

Aconcagua is distant a dozen miles from the Cumbre. The ascent of this
peak has been made up a valley which runs over toward it. Vegetation
gradually disappears on the upward journey, and the most of the streams
contain water unfit to drink. Soon the giant cliffs and crags of
Aconcagua tower over the traveller, a great mass of rock rising like
the battlements of some stupendous castle. Its vast proportions are
bewildering to the pygmy onlooker. Amidst this amphitheatre of peaks and
valleys it would seem was the arena of one of the early-world dramas
ages and ages ago. The cold becomes greater and more acute as more lofty
heights are reached, especially so just before daybreak. The wind is
biting. The loose round stones make a footing difficult. What looks like
a mere step from one part of the mountain to another often means hours of
toil to the venturesome climber.

One writer says: “The sight that met my gaze was an astounding one.
An immense glacier separated us from the glacier below—the difference
between twenty-three thousand feet and thirteen thousand feet. It was a
precipice of gigantic size. As I looked down its dizzy sides, I saw spurs
of the mountain flanking the glaciers beneath to the left and right,
giving the appearance of some huge amphitheatre. The sun was low in the
heavens, and did not penetrate into the vast pit, and the great masses
of vapour slowly moving about in it far below, gave it the aspect of a
giant cauldron, into whose depths the eye failed to penetrate, two miles
vertically below. The arete, about five feet wide at this point, ran east
to the summit and west to the snow-clad western peak of the mountain,
growing ever narrower in that direction, until, where it sloped up to the
highest point, its edge became knife-like.”

In “The Highest Andes,” by E. A. Fitzgerald, the following description
is given of the summit of Aconcagua. “Over Argentinian territory range
beyond range stretched away; coloured slopes of red, brown and yellow,
peaks and crags capped with fresh-fallen snow. I had hoped to look down
upon the pampas of Argentina. In this I was disappointed for, though I
gazed down over the range, a sea of mountains some sixty miles in width,
and averaging a height of quite thirteen thousand feet, made such a
view impossible. Away over the surging mass of white cloud that lay on
the glacier at my feet rose the southern frontier chain. Torlosa and the
Twins, on either side of the Cumbre Pass, stood like colossal sentinels
guarding the great highway between the two republics; then there were
the lofty glaciers lying between the rugged crags of Juncal, the ice
peaks of Navarro and Pollera, the Leones and the Cerro del Plomo, that
overhangs the city of Santiago, Chile, and some sixty miles farther on
the magnificent white summit of Tupungato.

“No lens or pen can depict the view from the Chilean side. I looked down
the great waste, past the western peak of the mountain to right and left,
over ranges that dwindled in height as they neared the coast to where,
a hundred miles away, the blue expanse of the Pacific glittered in the
evening sun. The sun lay low on the horizon, and the whole surface of the
ocean within the points of vision was diffused with a blood-red glow. The
shimmering of the light on the water could be distinctly seen. So near
did it seem that I could not realize the immense distance that separated
one from it.

“All the forces of nature had been brought to bear upon this mountain
giant. Visible signs lay around one of the power of the weather and
rapid changes of temperature to destroy. Aconcagua, with all its
cherished secrets and its mystery, lay here before one, confessing
itself as nothing more than a colossal ruin, for not a single vestige
of the ancient crater of this extinct volcano remains. Foot by foot the
relentless forces of nature have reduced the mountain to its present
proportions. The innumerable traces of ruin and decay around one, the
crumbling rocks and the disappearance of the crater told of an Aconcagua
of the past, whose gigantic base filled the glacier-beds around, whose
sides rose towering to the heavens several thousand feet higher than the
Aconcagua of to-day; of an Aconcagua of ages yet unborn, split, broken
and powdered by frost and heat, pouring itself over valleys and plains in
sediment and shingle, a mere shapeless mass whose height will no longer
distress the mountaineer.

“I looked at the time. It was twenty minutes past six. The sun, a great
ball of blood-red fire in a cloudless sky, was dipping into the waters
of the Pacific. Rapidly it sank and disappeared from view, yet, as if
struggling for supremacy with the fast-approaching night, an afterglow
of surpassing beauty spread over land and sea in a series of magnificent
changes of colour. The mighty expanse of water from north to south,
together with the sky above it, was diffused with a fiery, red glow.
While the red in the sky remained, the waters, through a variety of
intermediate shades of colouring, turned slowly to purple and then to
blue. And yet we were not in darkness, for with the sun’s departure the
risen moon declared itself with wondrous brightness, penetrating the thin
atmosphere and flooding everything with its colder light.”



CHAPTER IX

THE PEOPLE AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS


Argentina is made up of a complex population. An Argentinian is a person
born in the country, just as we class our own population. Perhaps nearly
one-half of the inhabitants are foreign born, and most of them from the
Latin countries. A large proportion of the remainder do not have to
go back more than one or two generations until a European ancestor is
discovered. The Latin races soon become mixed and cannot very easily
be traced after a generation or two. The English and German settlers
continue distinct and apart. They always remain foreign. The English
traits in those who have lived there a generation or two are almost as
marked as in those who have recently come over from the tight little
island. The later Spanish and Italian immigrants are the workers and do
most of the common labour. Wherever newer methods have been introduced
the influences are distinctly English. The railways are all owned and
operated by the English, and these have given the British touch to all
the later developments.

There is an aristocracy in Argentina as in all countries. The real
aristocrat here, as in other Spanish countries, is the pure-blooded
Castilian, who follows unfalteringly the traditions of his native land,
and who prides himself more upon the accomplishments of the past than
upon anything his family or race have done in modern times. The greater
aristocracy, however, is not an aristocracy of the old Spanish régime,
such as one will find in Chile or Peru, but a more recent upper ten based
upon wealth. The more picturesque attributes of a Spanish civilization
have almost disappeared beneath the spirit of modernism in Buenos Aires.
The development of social grades all over the republic has been rapid and
has kept pace with the opening up of new lands. It is possible even now
to watch this development, which is still in process of evolution in the
newer communities. A material prosperity has sometimes overwhelmed the
other virtues and inherited characteristics. Any way to make money is the
aim of the Argentinian, and an aristocracy of money has grown up.

The Argentine magnate is not a man who has attained his prominence
after a bitter and strenuous commercial struggle, which has developed
a hard-headed, practical side, but his wealth has come through the
automatic growth in the value of his expansive leagues of rich _campo_.
His income has waxed greater each year through no effort of his own. So
one will find the rich _estanciero_, intoxicated with his own wealth,
disporting himself in the national capital on as lavish a scale as one
will see in New York or London. These wealthy land aristocrats not only
spend their money, but they are eternally bent on devising new ways for
divesting themselves of the surplus pesos. It is spent lavishly and not
always well, for the development of the finer tastes has not kept pace
with the increase of material wealth.

Some of these moneyed _estancieros_ are descended from honest farmers,
whose fathers had no intimation of the wealth that would fall to their
descendants. They lived the simplest of existences, and looked upon their
broad acres only as a source of food and shelter. Then the land began
to rise with almost incredible rapidity. A league that would have been
wagered on a Camp race soon represented a small fortune. The approach
of the railroad to his _estancia_ showed the son that fortune was in
his hands and he longed for excitement. A palace in Buenos Aires was
added to his possessions, he joined the famous Jockey Club and became a
devotee of sport—following the odds on horses even more closely than he
did the price of wheat or cattle. He now visits Europe frequently and has
added a sort of cosmopolitan veneer to himself, and may possibly have
learned to speak two or three languages. Thus it is that this hidalgo
has added up-to-date and European customs and habits to his inherited
traits, of which perhaps the vices have been imbibed fully as generously
as the virtues and graces. So also it is that his life passes along in
smooth and easy channels, with little to worry him except the problem of
amusement and sufficient excitement.

[Illustration: A GROUP OF PEONS]

There is no doubt that the Argentinian is ambitious. We may laugh at some
of his impractical ideas, or the seeming stupidity of some of the more
ignorant ones, but the fact remains that each one is endeavouring to get
ahead. The Porteño is aiming to make Buenos Aires the finest city in the
world, the state governments vie with each other in prodigality, and
the ranchman is trying to develop the very best breeds of stock on his
_estancia_. They want the best modern appliances and luxuries, and even
the ladies must have the very latest Parisian designed hats and gowns.
The workmen join labour organizations and they are as free to strike
as in any other country in the world; in every way they are breaking
away from the old traditions and trying to enter into the spirit of the
modern, be it for good or ill. The same trend is observable whether the
person is the descendant of one of the old families, or is one of the
recent importations from Spain or Italy. This modernizing spirit seems
to be in the air and is as contagious as the most virulent form of fever
or plague. All differences of social station fade away before this one
vital force which pervades both Camp and city. It is almost as marked as
in any part of the United States and cannot be overlooked by the most
unobservant traveller.

A general wastefulness characterizes all classes, both urban and rural.
In many cases this is probably due to ignorance. The very bountifulness
of nature has no doubt accentuated a natural disinclination to attend to
detail and small economies. If conservation would be studied much more
profit could be realized by all. On the _estancias_ this wastefulness
is noted in the methods of taking care of the crops and vast herds of
stock. In the city one will see it in the administration of municipal
governments in the various departments. In private life one will discern
it everywhere, and even the common labourer shows the same traits of
improvidence and lack of thriftiness so characteristic of the German or
French peasant, for example.

The railroads are wasteful oftentimes and are unprepared to handle the
immense crops produced by a bountiful nature, so that thousands of tons
of grain have been lost through sheer inability to get them to market,
and the _estanciero_ was unable to take care of his grain because he had
no elevators or granaries to hold his crop. Thousands of cattle have been
lost in a dry season because the owner trusted wholly to nature and had
no food to keep them from starvation when the pasture failed. But then
Argentina is not alone in these traits, and it is perhaps easier to find
fault or give advice than to do the things ourselves if we were placed in
the same position.

Like all Latin people, the Argentinian loves politics. The opera bouffe
style of government, which can still be found in Central America, has
disappeared, so that the melodramatic element no longer exists. With each
year the people grow less inclined to indulge in revolution simply as a
pastime. The risks of the revolutionists too are greater in a nation of
nearly seven million people than formerly, when there were not one-fourth
that number, and a country in which prosperity and education have made
great strides. Furthermore, there is the feeling on the part of the
Argentinians that their country is on its way to take its place as one
of the great nations of the earth, and this idea has undoubtedly sobered
them somewhat. There are, no doubt, many, even to-day, who enter politics
with no other purpose than to enrich themselves. Their methods, however,
are far more subtle than the revolutionists of old, and they hedge
themselves about with an air of apparent honesty and patriotism that is
difficult to penetrate. They have had good examples of genuine patriots
in the not distant past, which has no doubt aided in clarifying the
political atmosphere. It is in the question of government contracts where
the test of honour comes. If the tales that are told are to be believed,
then rich pickings often fall to officials. In some cases this has been
done openly and yet caused little comment, because such a result seemed
to be but natural and expected as a matter of course.

Argentina is a country that is purely pastoral and agricultural, for the
proportion of those engaged in manufacturing is numerically very small.
And yet one city contains nearly one-fifth of the total population.
When you include the other cities, such as Rosario, Tucuman, Mendoza,
etc., the proportion of city dwellers is still greater. The cities of
Argentina have outgrown the rest of the country. With people of an
excitable nature, such as the Latins are, it may bode serious trouble
in the future. Strikes have become very common, and lawlessness in
connection with them is very easy to stir up. Just before my visit the
chief of police was killed in one of those disturbances. The method of
the government in dealing with these exigencies is sensible but drastic.
A state of siege and martial law is declared, and every suspicious
character is deported as an undesirable. Following the killing of the
chief of police, several hundred Italians and Spaniards were deported.
It was only after several weeks of martial law that the ban was lifted
and life moved along as before. Many of the Italians are, no doubt,
anarchistic in their tendencies, and sometimes it might be wondered that
disturbances are not more frequent and more general than they actually
are. The police of the city usually show themselves competent to cope
with the situation.

Notwithstanding the cosmopolitan character of the population, the
republic is governed solely by the real Argentinians. No foreigner is
permitted to sit in Congress or take any hand in the legislation of the
country. The character of elections has undoubtedly progressed, but they
are still far from being perfect or free from criticism. It is very
easy to tell beforehand who will be elected by observing the forces and
influences behind the various candidates. How it is accomplished might
be difficult to explain, but it is done, and the man with the proper
support will almost invariably win out in some way. Absolute freedom of
expression is allowed the individual and press; one may listen to or read
political addresses full of flowery eloquence and fire, or hear the most
bitter denunciation, with no police interference whatever. The government
does not worry itself about such trifles, which are merely abstract
questions and do no one harm. The chances are that if the opponents of
the government are allowed to work off their pent-up emotions in this
way, their opposition on election day will not be very active. Hence they
always treat the “not-ins” with a sort of good-natured forbearance that
would be irritating to a North American.

There are perhaps fifty thousand or more persons in Argentina who might
be classed as British. It would be difficult to find a community where a
few of these Anglo-Saxons do not dwell. Of this number a large proportion
are of Hibernian extraction. As a rule they may easily be spotted. In
Buenos Aires and Rosario this colony remains entirely distinct and
mingles very little in social relations with the natives. They are
engaged in commerce and the other business enterprises. The Britisher is
self-satisfied and the Argentinian would call him boorish, although he
is welcomed, as is any one who will contribute to the development and
material progress of the country. In the Camp it is sometimes different.
There one will find former citizens of the British Isles who have almost
forgotten their native tongue. Their children will speak Spanish in
preference to English, and they have imbibed many of the characteristics
of the Spaniards. If this British _estanciero_ speaks English his
conversation will be interspersed with Spanish phrases. The Camp seems to
have a fascination for him, and he will prefer the blue and white banner
of his adopted land to the British Jack. The rich land of Argentina,
which can produce such abundant crops, has wielded a spell over him. This
process of welding and consolidation has, in numerous instances, been at
work for several generations.

The Englishman is a born sportsman. He loves horseflesh and all games,
and has initiated the Argentinian into the mysteries of many. Football
is now played all over the republic by thousands of the darker-hued
Argentinians, side by side with the fair-haired Anglo-Saxon. Football has
to all intents and purposes become the national game of Argentina. It is
really astonishing what a hold this game has upon the people. The love of
sport in the Camp has no doubt had an influence in leading to a closer
understanding and better feeling between the two races in the rural
districts; it has been a good influence and the result has been for the
best interest of the nation. If the two races are to live side by side it
is well for a good fellowship to exist between them.

The seal of Spain is upon everything that she has touched. The Spaniard
has left his religion, language, and social creed all over the New World
south of the Rio Grande, and his mark can be traced upon face, laws and
landscape. Wherever he appeared the Spaniard has written his racial
autograph in a hand that neither time nor political change has sufficed
to efface. The Anglo-Saxon has never succeeded in accomplishing the
same results except by colonization. One who is proficient can detect
from what part the Spanish-American woman comes, for each national face
has an individuality. The Mexicana, the Chilena, the Uruguayana and
the Argentina all differ—and yet there is a kinship that can easily
be traced. The olive-brown tint is there, but in different shades.
The perfect _morena_ (Spanish-Moorish) is a rarity, but it is as near
perfection as complexion can be—so fine, so soft and so richly warmed.
This type can frequently be found in the Argentina.

[Illustration: ONE OF ARGENTINA’S DAUGHTERS]

Outside of Buenos Aires the old conservatism concerning the position
of women still prevails. It must be admitted that there is something
attractive about their life. The big roomy windows, and the balconies
which jut out over the street on each floor, and the women seem made for
each other. The balconies were first designed for the wives and daughters
of the Spaniards to look out upon the street, since they were not allowed
to go out freely. I know of no sight prettier or more enchanting than
to see these balconies filled with women and children on the occasion
of a carnival or other festive occasion. Two, three or four tiers of
balconies, one above another, will be crowded with women all in white,
and it is a sight upon which to feast the eyes. Then a family group
in one of the big windows, with the young ladies seated on the window
itself, forms a picture that will linger in the memory.

The women of Argentina are the antithesis of English or American women
in many ways. The masculine type is very rare, for the restrictions and
customs rather accentuate the purely feminine traits. In youth they are
beautiful and none can help but admire both face and figure. They can
express in the flash of an eye what an English girl could not say in a
quarter of an hour. In addition to the attractiveness granted her by
nature the Argentina is an adept at all the arts of the toilet, and is
generally familiar with rouge, the pencil and the powder puff; in these
she is a connoisseur, and does not hesitate to apply her knowledge. In
many the Spanish and Italian types have been moulded together and the
beauty has probably been accentuated. As a rule her carriage is graceful,
but her voice—that is the one disappointing quality. The voice is
generally rather shrill, and, when excited, very unpleasant. Furthermore,
they always speak in a monotonous, high-keyed, sing-song manner.

[Illustration: BLACK-HAIRED CHILDREN OF ARGENTINA]

A lack of exercise and a love of big dinners and wines soon develops a
stoutness that does not add to the beauty of the Argentine woman. One
will seldom see a woman in any city walking if a conveyance can possibly
be had, and it is certainly a good thing for the cabbie. It is at a late
hour when they arise and they seldom don other than negligée before the
middle of the afternoon. In later years they become very stout—one might
cruelly say, fleshy. In Buenos Aires they are beginning to look upon a
little more freedom as their birthright. One will see young women on
the street or in the street car unaccompanied by the duenna or other
companion, which would be unknown in Spain. Whereas they used to look
upon English girls as fast, because of their freedom, now they are
longing to adopt the same freedom of action, and it seems to be coming by
degrees. The matron becomes very much domesticated and devotes herself
unstintingly to her children and their welfare. In this way many of the
youngsters are really spoiled. Their devotion to their children is,
however, to be greatly admired, and a great affection seems to exist for
the mother among all her children, both girls and boys.

“I should think that these mothers would get tired of black hair,” said
an American woman to me in Buenos Aires. And then it dawned upon me with
full force that all of these Latin-American children have black hair. It
had not seemed to me as monotonous or tiresome before, for there is an
individuality about each face, just as there is about that of children
the world over. It is true that the hair of these children is almost
uniformly of that hue, but I am very sure that the mothers find their
children no less interesting because Carmencita, Juanita, Consuela,
Maria, Juan, José, Santiago, Antonio and all their little brothers and
sisters have hair of the same shade. These children of Latin-America are
very numerous, for families are generally larger than they are in the
United States. It is nothing unusual to see the mother or both parents
get on board a train followed by six or eight children, all of whom are
of tender ages.

The Spaniard has the reputation of being cruel. He is so to his horse
or mule, he can view the cruelties of the bull-fight with enthusiasm,
but his voice softens in speaking to a child. In fact the children are
often petted and humoured too much, and the affection lavished upon them
becomes a passion. And yet these bewitching little people are never
unmindful of the simple courtesies of life. They learn the amenities of
speech almost from the cradle. Ask some little fellow in Spanish America
his name, and he will probably roll out a long name, such as Jesus
Antonio Martinez y Alcorta, “at the service of God and yourself.” Pass
some compliment on little Carmencita and see how quickly she will say,
“It is a compliment you pay me,” or “_mil gracias_,” a thousand thanks.
Offer her some little courtesy and she accepts “_con mucho gusto_,” with
much pleasure, to which you should reply “the pleasure will be mine.”
It is hardly safe to admire an ornament of a little mite of only eight
or ten years. She will instantly remove it and offer it to you with
the expression, “It is at the disposal of your worship.” The proper
“disposal” is to refuse the gift in nice polite terms. It is really
remarkable, and oftentimes touching, to observe these little courtesies
in the _niñas_ and _muchachas_. It even extends to their prayers, for
here is the Spanish form of bed-time prayer:—

    “Jesus, Joseph, Mary,
      Your little servant keep,
    While, with your kind permission,
      I lay me down to sleep.”

Most of these Argentine children are rather solemn-faced in the presence
of strangers. They are not quite so free to make up with some one unknown
to them as the average American child, and it is often rather difficult
to coax a smile. One can even casually pinch a little cheek without
provoking the smile so free with American children. It is not fear, for
they do not seem afraid, but there is a certain shyness which is very
noticeable. They will look up at you with their big, black eyes, but
the smile which should accompany it is not forthcoming. Especially is
this true of little girls, who thus early in life seem to realize the
narrowness of their lives.

It has always seemed to me sad to contemplate a girl’s life in these
Latin lands. No sooner has one crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico than
the restrictions upon a woman’s freedom become evident, and these same
customs extend clear to the “Land of Fire,” at the southernmost limits
of South America. Not only are the little girls held in a species of
bondage, but in later years they miss that care-free, happy period of
American girls in their early “teens,” when every one considers it
a privilege and pleasure to contribute to their enjoyment. They are
hemmed about by servants and _duennas_ during these years, and they then
suddenly emerge into young womanhood, almost before one realizes that
they are more than little girls. One year they are _niñas_ (which means
little girls), and a year or two later they are _señoritas_, or young
ladies. They have almost skipped that delightful age of being “just
girls,” which the Spaniards term _muchachas_.

If there is one feature about them that is especially beautiful it
is the eyes. Large, dark and radiant orbs are almost universal, and
especially is that true in childhood. They very early begin the use of
powder and paste, and oftentimes of rouge and the black pencil. It is a
shame, for youth does not need these artificial aids and the evil effects
are seen in the complexions of those of maturer years. This beauty of
youth is more evanescent than with American girls, and the girl of even
twenty has oftentimes begun to fade, and at thirty she is decidedly
matronly in appearance.

Love and religion are the only two things that a Spanish woman should
concern herself about, according to the theory of that land, and the same
sentiment permeates even the childish amusements. Love and lovers run
through all the childish rhymes of the children of Spanish-America. But
more frequently it is religion. To begin with, their very names all have
some religious significance. Mary is a very common name, but to it is
added one of the attributes of the Virgin, such as Mary of the Sorrows,
Tears, Annunciation, etc. Thus smiling little Dolores (sorrows), Lagrimas
(tears) and the other little Marys bear these sad names, but their
smiles come just as easy as if their names signified joys. Saints are
appealed to in many of their childish amusements. “Jesus” and “Mary Most
Pure” are common forms of exclamation for the tiniest of tots, and their
conversation is punctuated with these sacred terms in the most innocent
way imaginable. They are used just as American tots would say “oh, my,”
or “good gracious.”



CHAPTER X

THE PEOPLE AT PLAY


S-p-o-r-t is the word you will find at the head of the sporting columns
of the Spanish, as well as English newspapers, in Argentina. This
word has been transferred over bodily, as no term in Spanish exactly
expressed the meaning of the English word sport. Baseball has not yet
become popular and cricket is little understood by the Argentinians, but
they are passionately fond of the turf, and horse racing is perhaps the
favourite sport of all classes. It is not the excitement of the racing
alone that appeals to the Argentinian, but the opportunity it gives for
indulging in his love of betting. Argentina possesses some of the finest
horse flesh in the world, and sales of favourites oftentimes take place
at almost fabulous prices.

Sixty millions is a tidy little sum to be placed upon horses in one year.
And yet that is the amount staked upon the races in the city of Buenos
Aires last year, according to the municipal statistics of that city.
Estimating the population at one million, two hundred thousand, this is
an average of fifty Argentine dollars for each man, woman and child in
that great city. Naturally the reported figures do not include all the
money that is wagered on the horse racing, so that it is impossible to
give the total amount of the bets, but it was undoubtedly several million
dollars in addition to the above sum. Reducing the figures to American
money, the wagers would represent twenty-five million, eight hundred
thousand dollars in gold coin with the American eagle stamped on the
back.

[Illustration: THE HIPPODROMO, BUENOS AIRES]

The race track of Buenos Aires, called the Hippodromo, is a monopoly of
the Jockey Club in that city. This club is an exception to the general
run of clubs in the world, for it has more money than it knows what to
do with. The troublesome surplus in the bank is the only problem that
bothers the board of directors, and it is bringing gray hairs to their
devoted heads. A half million dollars (an Argentine dollar is worth
forty-three cents) is devoted to charity each year, but that is only a
small part of its income. Ten per cent. of the total amount of stakes
on the races is the property of the club. This, together with the gate
receipts and membership dues, gives the Jockey Club an enormous income,
running up very close to eight figures. The several hundred members
each pay dues amounting to fifteen hundred dollars annually, and the
initiation fee is four thousand dollars. The membership is always
full, and there is a long waiting list of eligibles. About a year ago
a proposition was seriously discussed by the club to purchase a dozen
blocks right in the heart of the city, construct a broad and beautiful
boulevard through it and make a present of the improvement to the city.
The estimated cost was in the neighbourhood of fourteen million dollars.
When the proposition came to a vote it was lost by only five votes. It
was defeated, too, not on account of the cost, but simply on the question
of the advisability or practicability of such a scheme. The club had the
money on hand, and they are now worrying themselves again as to what to
do with it.

The home of the Jockey Club is a rather unpretentious-looking building on
the narrow Calle Florida, in the very heart of the city. The interior,
however, is magnificent. As one enters the massive doors, a marble
staircase faces you, which is the boast of the members and the pride of
Buenos Aires. Then there are dining-rooms, reception-rooms, parlours and
all the other apartments required in such an establishment. All of these
rooms are fitted and furnished regardless of cost, and with the artistic
taste which is inherent with the Latin races, so that it will compare
favourably with any palace in Europe. The banquet-room is fitted with
a circular table, with a running fountain in the centre. This table is
so made that it can be arranged to seat twenty people, or enlarged to
accommodate a hundred, and still be a perfect circle. I had the pleasure
of dining in the club with the American minister, and found that one will
meet with representative Argentinians of all classes, for the membership
is confined to them; but few foreigners, outside of the diplomats, are
able to get their names on the membership books even as honorary members.
A good introduction will sometimes give the visitor a chance to take
his meals there and have a hand in the games, in which fortunes are
oftentimes lost in a single night. The club possesses some exquisite
works of art. They have followed the plan of purchasing one picture each
year, but that picture must contain merit, for the price is no object. In
this way they have collected some paintings and statuary that are worthy
of places in any museum of art or palace in the world.

The Argentinians are natural born gamblers, and nothing suits them better
than to take a chance on a lottery or on a horse race. The Hippodromo
has one of the finest race courses in the world. There are three tracks,
one within another. The outer one is three kilometers, or about one
and three-fourths mile, in circumference. There are three grandstands,
the central one being a magnificent structure, which is reserved for
members of the Jockey Club and their invited guests. The gates are as
fine specimens of brass gates as one can find of modern manufacture. The
big races are all held on Sundays, or national holidays, from twelve
o’clock to three. Then all of the society folk put on their best bib and
tucker and pour out toward the Hippodromo. A perfect stream of luxurious
automobiles and fine carriages with liveried drivers will carry the
society out to the races. During the races these vehicles line up along
the curb facing the middle of the street, for blocks, with mounted
police mingling in the line at intervals.

Here is a typical flowery description by an Argentine reporter of a
race at the Hippodromo: “It was a lavish spectacle of contentment, of
spirits absorbed for the moment in the coming sport—regulars eager to try
their palpitos, simple-minded folk who carried the ‘sure-thing’ safely
tucked away in their pockets. Dreamers of fortune, these, lulled by the
music of the trot. And out of the vague intonation of all this multitude
there came, here and there, like a breath of fresh air, the glimpses
fluttering, elegant, of luxurious carriages carrying radiantly dressed
ladies, the luminous note of undulating ribbons and plumes standing out
like a spring-like, feminine bouquet against the black mass of these
absorbed in the sport.”

It is a study of Argentine life. They are not as noisy as an American
crowd, but the tense faces express the keenest interest, for nearly
every one, old and young, man or woman, has a personal interest in the
outcome. There are none so old and few so young that they will not wage
a few pesos on a favourite. Between the races the crowds leave the
grandstand and wander around below or visit the betting booths, which
cover a half-acre of ground. One booth will accept wagers of ten dollars,
another of fifty and still others of one hundred dollars. The money is
then apportioned after fixed rules. Ten per cent. is first deducted
for charity, another ten per cent. for the Jockey Club and the balance
is divided among the bettors. When the result has been figured up, the
amount to be paid on the different horses is posted up on a black-board
and the winners can draw their money. This board, it is needless to say,
is eagerly scanned after each race.

More than one hundred races were given by this club last year, and they
were attended by nearly three-quarters of a million of people. The big
races were witnessed by a concourse of people which sometimes numbered
fifty thousand. The average attendance of all the races is more than six
thousand. The attendance and the money wagered is increasing rapidly each
year. The statistics show an increase in the past ten years of more than
three hundred per cent., and the amount of money wagered has increased
still more rapidly. The Argentinians are prosperous now, and they spend
their money more freely than the average American.

The Tiger—that is the meaning in English of El Tigre, the Thames of
Argentina. It is situated a half-hour’s ride by train from the city of
Buenos Aires, and is the favourite resort of all the lovers of water
sports in that city. “Going to the Tigre” is the usual expression you
will hear from the passenger at Retiro station on Saturday, Sunday or a
holiday, and it may be said in Spanish, English, German or Italian. It is
an inaccurate expression, for the name Tigre is properly applied only to
one of the most insignificant branches of the network of streams which
abound in that vicinity.

[Illustration: A SUMMER COTTAGE AT EL TIGRE]

[Illustration: “IMPOSING CREEPER-CLAD COTTAGES ARE DOTTED ALONG THE
BANK”]

El Tigre is not an old resort. Thirty years ago the banks of the many
little streams which wind in and out along the shore of the Rio de
La Plata for several miles were almost bare of arboreal growth, just
like the plains, or pampas, are for hundreds of miles. In fact it has
only been within the past dozen years that Buenos Aires in all its
cosmopolitan entirety “discovered” El Tigre. At the present time the
banks are all fringed with a dense curtain of vegetation. The eucalyptus,
poplar and willow alternate with each other, and closely-set peach and
pear orchards are very numerous, for the Tigre fruits are large and
delicious, and are in great demand in that republic. The transformation
has been wonderful, and the average visitor would think that the growth
was natural and not planted. This class of trees grows very rapidly when
once planted by the hand of man, but nature herself slighted Argentina in
the matter of trees.

As one sails in and out of the numerous canals new scenes of beauty
continuously open up before his eyes. The broad canal from the railroad
station is taken first, for this leads past the principal club houses.
Imposing creeper-clad cottages are dotted along the bank on one side, and
some of them are very beautiful. On the opposite side is the Tigre Hotel,
with its many flowers and refreshment grounds. As the motor boat speeds
along the regatta course the procession of passing craft is never-ending.
There are launches, punts, skiffs and canoes filled with cosmopolitan
parties of nearly all nationalities. Among these crowds the olive faces
and graceful figures of the dark-eyed Argentinian _señoritas_ may easily
be distinguished from the blonde, ruddy-faced English girl, or the more
buxom German type. The _señoritas_ have learned to skull and manœuvre
the rudder, as well as their fairer haired rivals for the affections of
the youths who are fortunate to be the owners of some craft that will
float on these seductive waters.

An excursion to the remote waters savours of the adventurous, for the
uninitiated would soon lose his bearings. One will wind in and out of
the maze of streams in continual wonder as to what the next bend will
reveal. There are broad streets of water, lanes, narrow passages and
even blind alleys. One might follow one course and emerge upon the broad
La Plata, or he might wind in and out for hours, or even days, without
once doubling on his track. Along these less frequented water ways the
honeysuckle and swamp flowers bloom unaided, and the large crimson
blossoms of the ceibo tree add a brilliant touch of colour. Native
boats laden with willow or fruits will occasionally be met, for these
watery lanes furnish the only outlet for the most of the islands to the
railroad station. In fact it is a sort of rural Venice, in which the
water furnishes the only means of communication. Occasionally a boat will
disappear into a narrow opening that you have not noticed before, for it
was so well shielded by the overhanging willows.

Many and beautiful boats will be seen upon the Tigre. There is the
swift motor boat decked up high so that it can glide through the waters
swiftly; again there is the broader build made for carrying a larger
complement of passengers. Then there are yachts of all kinds as well
as row-boats of every shape. The most of them are built in Europe, but
an occasional one constructed in the United States may be singled out.
There are a number of boat clubs. The oldest one was established by
the English, but this has been absorbed by the Argentinians and a new
one built by the British colony. This is said to be the largest rowing
club in the world. The Germans have a club house, and even the Italians
have built their own home. There are not enough Americans in that
southern metropolis to own a club house, but some of that nationality
belong to the English club, and own or have an interest in some of the
gasoline-propelled launches.

The people love the good things of life. In the evening those who wish
to dine in a becoming manner go to the Tigre Hotel. As the light begins
to fade, here and there the launches dart in and out of the shadows to
the landing-stage. The dining-room quickly becomes crowded with diners
in outing flannels or evening dress. After a while the tables in the
dining-room become filled to overflowing with a gay and happy crowd,
and they spread out upon the terrace by the river side. If there is
moonlight the effect is oftentimes almost fairy-like. Then the moon and
the Southern Cross look down upon such a scene of beauty and vivacity as
must make the Queen of the Night smile, and cause the stars to twinkle
more brightly than usual. The rays of moonlight are intersected by the
reflection of the lamps, while here and there a twinkling point that
denotes a launch darts in and out of the shadows. Later the notes of
the guitar and mandolin may be heard on the waters, as the happy crowd
disperse to the cottages, and the youthful gallants remain yet a few
minutes more by the home of the charmer and breathe in the fragrance of
the magnolia blossoms upon the banks. At last at a later hour all becomes
quiet, save for the silent splashing of the little waves upon the banks
of the canals. Then the darting glow of the fireflies and the song of the
mosquito is all that remains to indicate life on El Tigre.

“Come on in; the water is fine.”

It did not sound that way, for the words were in Spanish. It was in
January, too, and the latitude about the same as that of Washington.
There is this difference, however, that Mar del Plata is south of the
“line.” While we are wearing heavy wraps, the people in that part of the
world are enjoying warm weather. During January and February Buenos Aires
is deserted by society and officials, just as are New York and Washington
in July and August. Buenos Aires can only be compared to the two cities,
for it is both capital and metropolis.

Argentina has but one seaside resort. This one place is the fashionable
Newport, the merry-making Coney Island, and the cosmopolitan Atlantic
City, all in one. It is the English Brighton and Blackpool united.
The life at Mar del Plata is like none of its prototypes or its
contemporaries.

Here is an enthusiastic description of Mar del Plata by a native writer:
“All at Mar del Plata suggests the refinement of a bathing resort. The
waves of the Atlantic beat softly upon the sandy beaches. The magnificent
hotels are filled with a _monde_ cultured and sociable, that fills
the summer evenings with joy. The English cottages and the luxurious
chateaux are dotted upon the slopes with all their graceful architecture
and modern comfort. The days are balmy and the nights perfumed; the
concerts, dances, strolls upon the ‘Rambla,’ the gracious life of the
élite—all this enlivens the sport, and causes the summer months to pass
by in an enchanting fashion. And, above all, the inevitable ‘flirtation’
is wont to insinuate itself in the midst of this delightful frame of
mind, commencing with discreet love-makings in the romantic light of the
moon, in improvised excursions, during which one may enjoy with a full
pulse the beauty of nature, and ending in the interchange of marriage
vows to the accompaniment of delicious blushes on the part of the maiden,
and nervous agitation on that of the future Benedict.”

[Illustration: MAR DEL PLATA]

A few years ago a site on a beautiful little bay of the Atlantic, two
hundred and fifty miles from Buenos Aires, was chosen by a few of the
wealthy residents as a summer home. At that time the property could be
purchased for almost a song, as there was nothing on the site except
a little fishing village. These people built commodious homes, and it
was not long until this small advance guard was followed by others, and
the colony began to attract attention. In the last six years alone it
has increased one thousand per cent., and to-day Mar del Plata is an
attractive summer resort, with scores of palatial homes, several large
hotels, asphalt streets and other improvements which follow population.
There are a number of low hills that line the shore, which form a pretty
break in the flat plains that lie all the way to Buenos Aires. The main
portion of the town is built in one of the breaks in these hills, on the
largest bay, and the palatial homes are on the slopes and summits facing
the sea. There are some beautiful rocky formations around the bay, deep
narrow cliffs through which the waters break with thunderous noise. The
finest golf links in the republic are on one of the hills which overlooks
the sea, and this is the favourite spot for the English visitors to this
resort. There is also a beautiful drive which extends for several miles
up and down the hills and near the shore along the yellow sands, past the
picturesque rocks and ever looking out upon the blue waters of the ocean.

There is not the life about Mar del Plata that one finds at an American
seaside resort. Spanish conservatism still prevails, although mixed
bathing is permitted. This was introduced for the first time four years
ago. The people have hardly accustomed themselves to the innovation yet,
as one will only see the mixed groups in small family parties. As a rule
the women and children go in together and the men keep by themselves.
Furthermore, no one in bathing-costume will be seen strolling on the
walk, or along the beach. The women come out of the bathroom with a cloak
over the shoulder, and are generally joined by an attendant. He removes
the cloak as soon as the water is reached, and it is hung on a line to
await her return. The suits worn are generally skirtless, but with a
coat reaching half way to the knees; and they never wear stockings. The
attendant accompanies them out to where the surf is breaking, always
keeping near the life line. There they play around for twenty or thirty
minutes and then leave the water. The cloak is placed on their shoulders
again, and they immediately disappear into the dressing-rooms. The
authorities are very watchful of the bathers, for the undertow at times
is very strong. Scattered along the beach one will at all times see men
in bathing-costumes bearing coils of rope, who are ever on the alert.
These _bañeros_ have saved the life of many a venturesome bather.

The bathing is generally done in the morning, for at eleven o’clock the
promenade begins. This takes place along the board walk, called the
“Rambla,” which follows the line of the shore for a distance. This walk
is open to the sea and covered with a roof, but on the shore side there
are little curio stores, cafés, photograph galleries and moving picture
shows. Many families also have little private bath houses along this
walk; but that name is really a misnomer, for they are principally used
to sit in and watch the promenade, as well as to entertain friends.

The promenade in Spanish countries is a great feature of social life.
Because of the restrictive social customs there is little freedom in the
life of women, and they therefore welcome this diversion. It also gives
the _señoritas_ a chance to exhibit their charms before the admiring
young men, and very often leads to ardent love affairs. Every woman and
girl who is able to get around will be on that walk just as sure as the
men. And then for an hour or more the crowd will walk back and forth,
until you think they would all tire themselves out. By one o’clock the
promenaders have disappeared, and during the afternoon the walk is
almost deserted. That is the time for the _siesta_, which is followed by
a drive along the sea front. At six o’clock the promenade begins again,
and is kept up for about two hours more, a repetition of the one at
midday. Thus it is that life goes on day after day for three months every
summer at this greatest resort in South America. This parade is a study
in the life of Argentine society, for the real four hundred visit Mar
del Plata. It is a place for dress and no one with a slender purse can
afford to visit it, or, at least, stay any length of time. The costumers’
establishments of far away London and Paris, as well as Buenos Aires,
have been ransacked for gowns to be worn at this resort.

[Illustration: ON THE BEACH, MAR DEL PLATA]

With all the increase in hotel accommodation that has been provided in
recent years, the hotels were full for weeks the past season, and it
was almost impossible to secure accommodation unless one had friends,
or arranged for it weeks ahead. The Hotel Bristol is the largest hotel
in South America. There is a main building, which contains a spacious
dining and ball room, and two annexes, each of which is as large as the
average city block. The prices correspond with the magnificence of the
furnishings. It is a night’s run from Buenos Aires, and a day train
is run on Saturdays and Tuesdays, which makes the trip in about seven
hours. The night that I went there were five trains, each carrying
fourteen sleepers, and all of them were full. The traffic had been just
as great for almost a month. The country is as flat as a barn floor,
with thousands of cattle and sheep dotting the Camp as far as the eye
could reach. Great, long-eared rabbits are so numerous that drives are
often formed by the _estancieros_ to get rid of them. Arrived at Mar del
Plata, there was a close line of carriages almost a mile long waiting
for “fares.” As soon as one carriage was filled another moved up and
took its place. At these times the “cabbie” is the real monarch, for the
Argentinians are very fond of carriages and seldom walk if a carriage is
to be had.

The wealthy promoters of this resort are aiming to make it a sort of
Monte Carlo. A new club has just been built, which is the largest
and most imposing building in Mar del Plata. In this building three
roulette tables and several games of _trente et quarante_ were running
in full blast, one roulette table being in a special room for ladies.
The building was not quite finished at that time and only the gambling
rooms were in use, they being much more necessary than the rest rooms or
dining department. The most prominent men in the republic are members
of this club. There had been a public _casino_, but the governor of the
province had closed that. He could not reach this private club, however,
without the aid of another official, who favoured the gambling. They were
hoping in a few months to elect another governor who would not be so
strait-laced about such an important thing as gambling. Large sums are
oftentimes staked on the games at Mar del Plata, for the Argentinian is
reckless enough to risk his last dollar under the excitement of the game.

Mar del Plata has become quite a fishing place and many of the
inhabitants are engaged in that occupation. It is very interesting to
watch the fishing boats when they come in from their excursions. First
one, then two or three, and perhaps a dozen of these picturesque crafts
will come around the point and head for the beach. Watching a favourable
swell, one after another of the fishing smacks will head for the shore
with all sail set. Awaiting them will be men with teams of horses, by
means of which they are pulled up high and dry upon the sand to await
the coming of morning, when they will again start out in their search for
the ocean’s game.



CHAPTER XI

EDUCATION AND THE ARTS


“Found schools and you will do away with revolutions,” was the favourite
expression of President Sarmiento. It was during this administration that
education received its greatest impetus. Sarmiento, who has been called
the “school-teacher president,” inaugurated a most liberal policy towards
popular education. He was deeply interested in this problem, had made
a study of the educational systems in the United States and caused the
establishment of very many schools and public libraries. The provincial
and municipal authorities of the republic were everywhere encouraged and
urged to establish an efficient system of public instruction, and his
efforts produced beneficial results. The later administrations, however,
have been absorbed in other lines, and many of the progressive ideas of
Sarmiento were allowed to pass into “innocuous desuetude.” There have
been occasional spurts of energy, but these have been far too spasmodic.

The subject of education arouses less interest than it should with the
people in general. This lack of public interest is perhaps accountable
in a great measure for the indifference of the provincial and national
administrations. Here is a criticism of Mr. Akers, the historian, of
the educational system in Argentina. “A smattering of many subjects is
taught, a sound knowledge of any one is the exception. It is not that
the pupils are deficient in intelligence, but rather that teachers are
lacking in experience and ability. Nor can any other result be expected
under existing circumstances. The payment of officials is inadequate,
and frequently salaries are months in arrears, while lack of discipline
in primary, secondary and higher education is conspicuous. Provisions
for the orderly exercise of authority in colleges and schools are also
most defective.” This criticism was written in 1903, but it is applicable
to-day, except that the payment of the teachers is somewhat higher and a
little more regular. The teaching profession is still greatly underpaid,
as the money is turned into other channels which are more purely
political. It is simply another example of that utilitarian policy of
looking only to the present and letting the future generations take care
of themselves.

Public instruction in Argentina is divided into three classes—primary,
secondary and higher education. Primary education is compulsory by
law, though seldom enforced, and is given free to all children in the
republic between the ages of six and fourteen. Education in the capital
and territories is under the control of the Federal Government, and
there are in all five thousand, two hundred and fifty public schools for
primary instruction maintained by it. Each of the provinces maintains
large numbers of these schools for elementary instruction also, and in
addition each city contains a number of private schools to which people
of means send their children rather than to the public institutions. All
of the schools having the support of the Federal Government are under
the supervision of the National Council of Education, which is housed in
a beautiful building in the city of Buenos Aires. Secondary education
is not compulsory, but it is practically free, as only a very small fee
is charged for registration. There are sixteen lyceums and thirty-five
normal schools which come under this class, and they are located in all
the larger cities of the nation. The national universities of Buenos
Aires and Cordoba are both noted institutions, and these, together with
the provincial universities at La Plata, Santa Fé and Paraná, provide the
higher education. In addition to this the various provincial governments
send a number of students abroad each year to complete their studies at
the noted universities of Europe and North America. At the present time
there are about thirty of these students at the various universities and
colleges of the United States, and others are pursuing their studies in
England, France, Germany and Italy.

[Illustration: A SECONDARY SCHOOL]

Many technical schools are also maintained by the national government.
Among these one of the most practical is the Industrial School of the
capital. This institution has elaborate workshops which are well equipped
with machinery and appliances, in which the trades and crafts are
taught. The National Conservatory of Music, the School for Drawing, the
School of Art, and the School of Commerce, in which instruction is given
accountants and translators, are situated in Buenos Aires, and there are
commercial schools in Cordoba and Bahia Blanca. There is an agricultural
school in Santa Catalina, province of Buenos Aires, and agricultural
experiment stations have been established at Tucuman, Bella Vista, San
Juan and Tenna.

Argentina is, at the present time, spending a great deal of money for
education. In the city of Buenos Aires there are sixty-seven buildings
devoted to educational purposes. Many of these are very attractive
structures and the total cost has run up into the millions of pesos.
The general plan of education is being modelled very much after that
of the United States. System and practice, however, are often two
different things, and so it oftentimes happens in Argentina. In actual
practice there is often a misconception of what real education means.
Superficiality is too often a characteristic of the education offered.
There are many finely educated persons in the country, but not many
of them teachers. The positions are too often the reward of politics,
although there are many very efficient women who are teaching. Graduation
is easy for the scholar with a pull, for the students will bring in
recommendations at graduation time in order to be sure of passing,
especially if they have not been very diligent. A glitter is too often
allowed to take the place of real scholarliness and learning. This
superficiality is too often allowed to pass muster where solidarity
should be demanded.

The University of Buenos Aires is one of the great educational
institutions of the New World. It is not quite so old as the one in
Cordoba, which was founded in 1613, but it has a much larger attendance
of students, probably because of its location in the capital. The
buildings are scattered over the city in different sections, as the
various departments have been added from time to time. A few of the
oldest buildings are very venerable looking indeed, and are among the
oldest structures in the city. It is planned to rebuild much of the
University in the suburban sections in the near future, so that more
space can be utilized in quadrangle and park. Almost five thousand
students receive instruction in the various departments, of which the
largest number, about one-half of the whole, are matriculated in the
College of Medicine, which is a large and well-equipped institution.
Many departments are included in the institution, however, which do not
strictly come within the designation of a medical institution proper, and
that accounts for the numerical enrolment. The next largest department is
that known as the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. A recent addition
to this ancient university is the National Agronomic and Veterinary
Institute, which is devoted to developing what are, and perhaps always
will be, the greatest sources of the national wealth of Argentina. The
courses of study of the University are very complete, and contain what
is best in Argentine education. It is by far the best and most thorough
educational institution in the republic.

It is not to be expected that one would find in Argentina a very great
number of writers. The greatest incentive to a writer, as well as to a
publisher, is that a book will be read by many people. In the republics
of Spanish America, with education only imperfectly spread among the
masses, the number of readers has been necessarily small. Another
obstacle to the development of literary activity has been in the frequent
wars and revolutions which have kept most of those nations in a state
of political turmoil. Furthermore the comparative isolation of those
republics prevented a coöperation among them even though there was a
sameness of language. Therefore the editions were necessarily small, and
the remuneration consequently inadequate to encourage a literary career.
In the face of these disabilities it is to the credit of Spanish-American
writers that their activities have been so considerable.

Politics and journalism have always been intimately connected in
Argentina, for the editorial has oftentimes been of greater interest than
the news columns. Many of her writers have been intimately associated
with this form of activity. Avellaneda, Pellegrini, and Bartolomé Mitre,
all of whom occupied the presidential chair, first made their mark in
the journalistic field. The last named wrote an able work on the history
of the emancipation of South America and a biography of the Argentine
patriot, San Martin. Vicente Fidel Lopez, another historical writer, gave
to the world a “History of the Argentine Republic,” which has taken its
place among standard historical works.

Poetry and the drama have always been favourite forms of writing among
Spanish writers. Perhaps no language can boast of so many dramas as the
Castilian. Argentina has nourished a number of these, among whom might be
named Tomas Gutierrez, Rosa Guerra and Juana Manso de Noronha, the latter
writing a drama called “The Revolution of May,” which is very popular in
that country. There are few Spanish writers who do not at some time stray
into poetic writing to which that tongue is so well adapted. Although
none of the poets have secured a world-wide hearing, some very sweet
poems have been penned by Echeverria, Lafinur and Figueroa. In fiction
translations of French writers have generally been demanded. Only one
novel by an Argentine writer has received a favourable hearing in Europe,
and that was “Amalia,” by José Marmol. It is an historical novel treating
of the dictatorship of Rosas, and has been very highly commented upon by
competent critics. It probably gives the best picture of the stirring
events of that interesting period in the history of Argentina. In more
recent years, since the population has increased, and better political
conditions prevail, and the reading public has been so greatly augmented,
writers in all fields, including philosophy and political economy have
become more numerous, and the next decade will probably be marked by
much greater literary activity.

The press is well represented in Argentina, for there is scarcely a town
of any size that does not support a newspaper. They are well patronized
too, and the towns take a pride in their publications. The press of
Buenos Aires is one of the most polyglot in the world. There are in that
city almost five hundred different publications, of which four hundred
and twelve are printed in the Spanish language, twenty-two in Italian,
eight in French, eight in English, eight in German and one in Arabic.
Then the Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Roman and Dutch tongues each have
at least one representative. There are sixty-six dailies, sixty-four
monthlies and almost two hundred weeklies.

_La Prensa_, which means The Press, is a newspaper of which any country
or city might be proud. Although not a government organ, for it remains
independent, this newspaper undoubtedly exerts the widest influence of
any newspaper in Argentina, and perhaps in South America. It is most
frequently quoted by the people and its statements are taken as facts.
It has a circulation of over one hundred thousand. In appearance it is a
large metropolitan sheet seldom containing less than sixteen or twenty
pages. Its news columns are well written and newsy, and its editorials
are weighty and well-digested. _La Prensa_ publishes more foreign news
than any newspaper in the world. This is its claim—certainly more than
any daily in the United States. There are seldom less than two pages of
foreign cablegrams from all parts of the world, principally Europe, of
course. The establishment of this newspaper is on the Avenida de Mayo,
in an imposing building which cost three million dollars and is one of
the finest newspaper homes in the world. Here will be found not only a
complete and modern newspaper plant, but a number of unique features for
the good of the public and the glory of the city. At its own expense
a free consulting room is provided where an able physician, aided by
several assistants, administer to the sick without charge; there is a
law office where, during certain hours, indigent persons can secure
free legal advice; a large, well-stocked library is open to all without
payment; there is a large hall for public meetings and where fine
musical entertainments, as well as private operas, are sometimes given
for the force. Another unique feature is a suite of finely furnished
apartments where distinguished foreigners are gratuitously entertained.
There are private grill rooms for the reporters and other employees,
and the proprietor has a fine office which he does not occupy more than
once in six months. The owner of the _La Prensa_ is a very wealthy man,
but he takes absolutely no part in the conduct of the paper. He engages
an editor-manager, and the entire management and policy of the paper
is turned over to this one man. If this man makes good he retains his
position; if not, he is at once supplanted. In a long period of years
there have been but four editors, which speaks well for the care with
which these men have been chosen. They have all been men of prominence,
and their ability is shown by the high standard of the paper which has
been maintained during all of these years.

After _La Prensa_, _La Nacion_, which was founded in 1870 by the famous
Argentine statesman, Bartolomé Mitre, is second in importance, and has a
large as well as distinguished clientele. It is large and metropolitan
in appearance, and might be called the government organ. The principal
evening paper is _El Diario_. _La Argentina_, _El Pais_, _La Razon_, _El
Tiempo_, _El Pueblo_, _Tribuna_, etc., are the names of some of the other
leading dailies. There are two English daily newspapers, the _Standard_
and the _Buenos Aires Herald_, each of which has a good circulation.
They are both typical English papers in appearance and general style,
although the Herald was founded by an American. The _Review of the River
Plate_ and _The Times of Argentina_ are weekly publications devoted to
shipping and the general financial news and interests of the country.
The former has a well-established reputation as a financial authority in
British commercial circles. _Caras y Caretas_ is a unique illustrated
weekly which has a large circulation and is exceedingly popular. _La
Illustracion Sud-Americana_ is a handsomely illustrated monthly, one of
the best published anywhere. _La Revista de Derecho, Historia y Letras_
is a literary periodical of high character.

The Spanish cavaliers left Europe just prior to the Renaissance, when
the dark ages were nearing their end. Europe was then striving with the
life which was soon to burst forth. The wealth of knowledge and art,
which had heretofore been confined within the dark and forbidding walls
of monasteries and convents, was about to be given forth to the world
to which it belonged. St. Peter’s was then in the hands of architects
full of new ideas, the great cathedral of Seville was nearing completion
and work was in progress on many of the other famous cathedrals of
that continent. This genius for building crossed the seas with the new
colonists, and they soon turned their attention to the upbuilding of
great temples dedicated to the Almighty. It was an age of wonderful
activities in art and architecture, and the New World profited by it. It
was not long until hammer, chisel and trowel were busy in all the new
settlements, and their accomplishments now gladden the eye of the people
of this age. The oldest Spanish cathedral in the Americas is probably
at Santo Domingo, as that was first settled. It was here that the body
of Columbus rested for a time. Cortez marked his subjugation of Mexico
by the inauguration of great public works on which the newly-enslaved
inhabitants of the country were employed, as did Pizarro in Peru. The
great cathedral of the City of Mexico, the most stupendous of the New
World, was begun in 1573, on the site of the ancient altar of sacrifice
of the Aztecs. This is said to be outranked by only three cathedrals in
the world, St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s of London, and that of Seville. The
cathedral of Lima, Peru, is the earliest and largest in South America,
and was founded on the same day as the city itself, by Pizarro. The
corner-stone of this magnificent structure was laid on the 16th day of
January, 1535, and the bones of the founder now rest beneath its roof and
are shown to the curious visitor.

[Illustration: THE COLUMBUS THEATRE, BUENOS AIRES]

There are some old churches in Argentina which one will find in Cordoba
and other old towns. The cathedral, however, is more modern, as it was
not begun until comparatively recent times, although erected on the site
of a chapel that was founded in 1580. Were it not for the dome surmounted
by a cross its appearance would not necessarily suggest a religious
edifice. The twelve massive Corinthian columns suggest the Church of the
Madeleine in Paris. It shows a tendency to depart from the old models
and adopt newer schemes of embellishment, just as has been the tendency
in North America. Its façade, however, is imposing on the Plaza de Mayo,
around which centre the commercial and political activities of this great
city. It is perhaps emblematical of the new forces which are at work
in Latin-America. The interior of this cathedral is commodious and will
accommodate several thousand people. The Church of San Francisco is a
fine example of church architecture, and has just been almost wholly
remodelled. San Domingo is an historic old church, in the tower of which
a number of cannon balls are imbedded, which were fired into the city by
the British fleet.

The principle of subsidy to art still retains its vitality in South
America. In Argentina there are several municipal theatres, or opera
houses, and the finest of which is the Teatro Colon, or Columbus Theatre,
of Buenos Aires. This handsome structure was erected by the municipality
at a cost of two million dollars. It is three stories high. The first
story represents the Ionic, the second the Corinthian and the third the
Doric style of architecture. It is of recent construction and will seat
nearly four thousand persons. The very best artists of the world are
brought here, as the annual allotment from the municipal budget enables
the management to do what the box receipts alone would not warrant,
because of the long voyage necessary to bring these high-salaried artists
to Buenos Aires.



CHAPTER XII

THE FORCES OF DEFENCE


No modern institution has been more talked about and written about than
that of the police. The police problem is, in all cities, one to which
continual thought is given by citizens as well as officials. The debt we
owe to the police can more easily be understood by thinking for a moment
of what city life would be without that body. In Greater New York, with a
population of five millions, there are about ten thousand policemen, or
one to every five hundred inhabitants. In London the proportion is one
policeman for every four hundred and ninety-six dwellers in the world’s
metropolis. In Buenos Aires there are twice as many in proportion to
the population as in New York. If these guardians of the peace were to
be suddenly withdrawn, no man’s property or person would be safe at any
time of the day or night in these great congested centres. Men would
be obliged to go armed; business places and dwellings would have to
be barricaded by night; no one could leave his home with a feeling of
security as to what might happen during his absence. It was so during the
middle ages when the people locked and bolted their massive doors and
remained at home, or went about at night in companies in order to insure
safety.

In ancient times many of the duties of the modern police were performed
by the soldiers. In the early days of Persia and ancient Greece guards
were stationed at the gates, and at night military watchmen were placed
on the walls. Rulers and persons of affluence had in addition their own
personal body-guards. It was not until the days of Augustus Cæsar that
the idea of a body of men trained and disciplined to maintain order for
the benefit of the citizens at large was developed. The Romans were
averse to the presence of soldiers within the walls, for fear that they
might become a menace to public liberty. As a result of this prejudice
a body of civil police grew up, a part of whose equipment were buckets
of rope made waterproof with tar, for they were the firemen as well.
Because of this outfit the people in derision called them “squirts,” or
“bucket-boys.” The Anglo-Saxon system of police was not perfected until
in the time of the eminent Sir Robert Peel less than a century ago. After
several years of strenuous work in Parliament he succeeded in passing
a law organizing the Metropolitan Police of London. Although this body
of men gave security and protection to the citizens of that city it was
considered an inroad upon personal liberty and the members of the force
were termed in derision “bobbies” and “peelers,” names which have clung
to them ever since.

It has often been a query in my mind whether we fully appreciate the work
of the policeman. The soldier’s praise has been sung in every land and in
every tongue, but the man who walks the city’s streets has not succeeded
in inspiring the muse to any extent. The police are a mighty army in
themselves. If one could shout the one word “Police!” so that it might
be heard the world over, it would call together an army of more than a
million men. Among these would be the stalwart “bobbie” of London, giant
Chinese policemen from Hong Kong, barefooted Zulus clothed in English
helmets and suits, tens of thousands of American “cops,” and last, but
not least, the little brown policeman of Argentina. Buenos Aires alone
could furnish five full regiments of a thousand men each.

[Illustration: A POLICEMAN OF ARGENTINA]

These dark-skinned, undersized men are always on duty. At regular
intervals a sergeant comes along and signs the officer’s book, which is
his record of service. The summer uniform is white, helmet and all. At
night you will see one of these officers at every street intersection.
As far as you can see down the narrow thoroughfares one of these white
sentries may be seen on duty at every corner. Should a disturbance occur
he will blow his whistle and this will be answered for many blocks. Soon
policemen will be seen running from the four directions, and in a few
minutes quite a force can be collected. A call to the central station
would bring an additional force. In this way an incipient disturbance
could soon be checked. As these men are under the pay of the national
government, they form a part of the defensive forces of the country and
are a really creditable body. The mounted men are well mounted and have a
very smart appearance as they canter through the streets.

Since the probability of war with Chile passed away the army of Argentina
has not been kept as full as prior to 1904. The proportion of soldiers
to the population is perhaps less than in any other republic of South
America, except Brazil. There are thirty infantry battalions, nine
cavalry regiments, eight regiments of the various branches of artillery,
besides the numerous special features. The cavalry in particular will
compare most favourably with those of any other nation. They are
recruited principally from the gauchos, the cowboys of Argentina, who are
born to the saddle and sit upon the horses with a grace and naturalness
that only comes with familiarity to such form of locomotion from the very
cradle itself almost. The infantry are well equipped with modern arms
and accoutrements, but they will not bear comparison with the troops
of Uncle Sam, Germany or France. They are fighters, however, when once
aroused and interested in the cause for which they are fighting. There
is in addition to the permanent army a reserve army of about one hundred
and fifty thousand. By the provisions of the law every Argentine citizen,
from his twentieth to his forty-fifth year, a period of twenty-five
years, is subject to compulsory military service. Actual service,
however, except in the navy, rarely extends beyond one year. Naturalized
citizens are exempt from military duty for a period of ten years after
their naturalization. The fact that every one born on Argentine soil is
considered an Argentine citizen has led to some unpleasant experiences
among the foreign population, whose children have been born in that
country. Many women have gone back to the home land so that their
children would not become Argentine subjects.

General Leonard Wood, of the United States army, makes the following
comment upon the Argentine army following a recent official visit to that
country.

“Instruction in this army is vigorous and thorough during the entire
period of service. They have a good general staff organization, and a
superior school of war for training staff officers and special training
of line officers, under the care of specially selected line officers.
In Argentina there are excellent relations between the officers and the
men. There are few court-martials and insubordination is rare. Their
infantry is of a sturdy type, good marchers, well uniformed and equipped.
The cavalry is well mounted and they are good horsemen. The bulk of the
cavalry is armed with sabre and carbine, and there is also one regiment
of lancers and one heavy regiment of cuirassiers. They are all very
smartly turned out and make fine troops. Compulsory service, it has been
found in Argentina, as elsewhere, is useful not only in making good
soldiers, but also good citizens are so made. Men from remote districts,
after a year’s service with the colours, have a greater respect for
the flag, for the authorities, and the national government. These men
have also benefited physically and acquired habits of promptness and
exactness. They return to their communities in every way improved by the
service. All who enter unable to read and write are taught during their
service. After the year’s service with the colours men are called out
at intervals, gradually decreasing in frequency, for short periods of
service with the colours during manœuvres, usually about six or eight
days a year. Careful track is kept of the reserves, who are almost
immediately available in case their services are needed. Sufficient
equipment for them is held in reserve.”

In travelling over Argentina one sees very few soldiers. A man in a navy
uniform will be encountered much more frequently. The standing army only
numbers twenty thousand men, while the active naval force is not less
than twenty-five thousand, most of whom are young men of twenty and
twenty-one years of age. This force is kept recruited by conscription.
All citizens are registered at birth and a number placed opposite the
names on the register. Numbers are drawn each year of the young men who
have reached the age of eighteen. The higher numbers pass into the navy
for two years, and the lower numbers enter into the army for one year.
Then after their discharge from active service these men pass into the
reserves, where they are kept enrolled until they are thirty years of
age. This keeps a large reserve force ready for duty in both army and
navy. The Escuela Naval Militar, a naval college, is maintained where
young men are trained to take positions as officers in the navy, similar
to our own naval school at Annapolis. In nearly all the public schools
the boys are given a military training under the direction of retired
naval and military officers, and are allowed the gratuitous use of
firearms and ammunition. Nearly every city and town has a shooting range
where target practice is carried on under the direction of officials. The
tactics are German, but the uniforms in both army and navy are of French
design.

The Argentinians are very proud of their navy. There is a great jealousy
between that republic and Brazil, and a consequent rivalry in building up
a navy. A few years ago Brazil ordered three Dreadnaughts from English
builders, the first two of which have just been received, and the other
one will be delivered very soon. These boats were supposed to be the most
powerful representatives of this style of war vessels ever constructed,
but the Argentine naval experts believe that their new marine monsters
will be still more effective. They considered the proposition for a
long time, and maintained a committee in Europe for a year in order to
peruse plans and keep in touch with the very latest developments in naval
construction. The plans finally adopted were the result of this careful
and painstaking study. The boats will be seventy feet longer than the
Brazilian Dreadnaughts, twenty-five hundred tons greater displacement and
will have a guaranteed speed of one additional knot.

A twenty-two million order for battleships was not a bad thing for
American ship builders. And yet that was the contract given them by the
Argentine Republic, after a fierce competition in which twenty-five firms
from five of the leading nations of the world were engaged. The Eagle may
well scream a little, for it is the first time that the United States has
been considered a serious competitor in the building of battleships. The
European nations used every influence, including that of their diplomatic
representatives and a “knocking” of American manufacturers, to secure
the order, but all to no avail. The American builders were the lowest
bidders; they promised the boats in a shorter time; and the visit of the
fleet a few years ago showed the Argentinos that we could build first
class battleships. The writer was in Buenos Aires when the contract was
let, and it awakened the people of that section of the world to the fact
that the United States has become an active competitor in all lines of
business.

These “Dreadnaughts,” which will be known as the “Rivadavia” and
“Moreno,” will be 604 feet long, with a displacement of 20,500 tons, and
a speed of 22½ knots will be generated by engines of 40,000 horsepower,
and the normal draught will be 27 feet. The height of the turret above
the water will be 26½ feet and at the poop it will be 17 feet. The
armour will extend for 250 feet in the centre, 4¾ feet above and 3⅓ feet
below the normal water line with a uniform thickness of one foot. The
total weight of the armour will be 7,000 tons. The outward appearance
of these two leviathans will be very similar to the “Arkansas” and
“Wyoming,” of our own navy. The armour both above and below the water
line will be heavier than has heretofore been in use, while the bottom
will be well protected against submarines by nickel steel. The armament
will consist of twelve thirteen-inch guns in six turrets, twelve six-inch
guns in the central casement and an equal number of four-inch guns well
located. The coal bunkers will have a capacity of four thousand tons,
besides several hundred tons of petroleum. Both of these leviathans of
the deep will be delivered early in the year 1912.

[Illustration: THE ARMOURED CRUISER, “PUEYRREDON”]

The navy of Argentina aggregates over thirty vessels, and some of them
are very good boats. Among these are four armoured cruisers, all of
which are 328 feet in length. Two of these, the “General San Martin” and
“Pueyrredon,” are twin ships of 6,773 tons displacement; the “Garibaldi”
and “General Belgrano” have a displacement of 6,732 and 7,069 tons
respectively. The oldest one, the “Garibaldi,” was launched in 1896,
and the newest one, the “Pueyrredon,” in 1901, all of them being built
in Italian yards. They develop 13,000 horsepower with a speed of twenty
knots, and have a daily coal consumption of one thousand tons. All
carry a crew of five hundred men, except the “Garibaldi,” which carries
only three hundred and fifty men. The cost of these vessels averaged
about $3,500,000 each. The “Almirante Brown,” named after the famous
English-Argentine admiral, an older boat, is what is generally known as
a central battery ship, and is a considerably smaller and less effective
boat. There are also four cruisers. Three of these, the “Buenos Aires,”
“Nueve de Julio” (Ninth of July), and the “25th of May,” have a speed
exceeding twenty-two knots; the “Patagonia” is a smaller vessel with
a speed of only thirteen knots. The coast defence vessels number two,
the “Independencia” and “Libertad.” The “Espera” (hope), “Patria”
(fatherland) and “Rosario” are torpedo boats with a speed of twenty
knots. The “Sarmiento” is a training ship which has twice visited the
United States in recent years. Fifteen new torpedo boat destroyers
have also been ordered which, with the new battleships, will place the
Argentine navy in a very effective condition.

The entire fleet is mobilized for four months each year. An annual
review, which is held about the first of June, is made the occasion of
great display. The President boards one of the vessels, which is then
made the flagship, and the other vessels pass in review before it and
manœuvres take place. Target practice is held and mimic engagements are
“fought.”

What to do with these big monsters now building is a problem which is
seriously engaging the minds of the naval department. At the present
time there is only one port in the republic which they can enter, and
that is the Puerto Militar, at Bahia Blanca. They will not be able to
reach Buenos Aires, because the waters of the La Plata are too shallow.
The same is true of the other naval bases. It looks as though they will
be obliged to stay near Bahia Blanca, or else anchor out on the broad
Atlantic the most of the time.

In the writer’s opinion Argentina has little use for a big navy. It
cannot be placed on a par with European navies, and it is a big burden
of expense. She has only one city on that coast, Bahia Blanca, and has
not many vessels engaged in commerce, except on the La Plata and its
affluents. Buenos Aires is protected from the Dreadnaughts of other
nations because of its shallow harbour. One great item of cost is coal,
of which great quantities are consumed, and all of which is imported
either from Europe or Australia, the cost per ton being very high.
The new Dreadnaughts will have a coal-consuming capacity of sixteen
thousand tons per day. The annual expense at the present time of the
navy is $7,500,000, and the new ships will increase this by at least
$4,000,000. This will make a per capita cost of nearly two dollars for
each man, woman and child in the republic. It simply resolves itself into
a jealousy of and rivalry with Brazil. If the United States builders
will construct Dreadnaughts that will have better armour, greater speed,
and more powerful guns than the new Brazilian boats, then American
manufacturers can get anything they want in Argentina.



CHAPTER XIII

RAILROADS AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT


In the Argentine railway world Buenos Aires occupies the position of
ancient Rome, for all roads lead to it. A glance at the map is sufficient
evidence of that fact. It has become the centre of the greatest network
of railroads in South America. Like the colossal web of a spider it sends
out its strands of steel north to the border of Paraguay and Bolivia,
east to the trackless Atlantic, south into Patagonia and west across the
Andes with a terminus at Valparaiso. There are at present about sixteen
thousand miles of main track in operation in that republic. This is
nearly as much as all the rest of the continent combined and shows the
progressiveness of the country. All of the railroads, with the exception
of the national lines and the Provincia de Santa Fé, which is a French
line, were built by British capital and are under British management.
Nearly all of the materials and equipment have been brought from that
country, and everything has a distinctly John Bull stamp. Only one
exception has been made, and that is that the compartments have been
abolished in the day coaches. The sleepers, called _dormitorios_, are
made into compartments and are called “Pullmans,” but they lack the
luxurious qualities of the cars after which they were named. The stations
are generally very creditable and show a spirit of enterprise. Two-thirds
of the mileage is of the broad gauge, nine and one-half inches broader
than our own, which makes the seats and aisles extremely comfortable. The
same English regard for safety is evident and every safeguard is applied
toward that end. In fact they are English railroads transplanted to the
pampas, with just a few concessions demanded by the nature of the country
served.

The government of Argentina has been extremely liberal in its railroad
policy. It has recognized the fact that there is no better way to develop
its resources than by spreading the parallel bands of steel all over the
republic. Perhaps nowhere in the world were there fewer difficulties or
fewer perplexing engineering problems than here, for there was no grading
and it was only necessary to take off the surface soil and dig ditches
to carry off the water. A number of the concessions originally contained
a government guarantee of six or seven per cent. on the investment, but
most of these have since been altered as the receipts generally paid
ample returns, and in consideration of release from the contractual
obligation the government granted some other privileges. Many of the
charters also granted an exclusive territory of about twenty miles on
each side of the right of way.

The principle of consolidation has been going on in Argentina the same
as in the United States. The large lines have been taking up the smaller
ones until now three companies own one-half of the total mileage, and
these three companies are very evenly matched. The original charters of
the many lines differed greatly in their terms. They are now all being
rapidly brought under a law passed in 1907, which is exceedingly liberal.
Under this law the companies pay no import duties on construction
materials and articles used in operating the lines, and are exempt from
all taxes until 1947. During that period, however, they contribute three
per cent. of their net receipts towards the construction and maintenance
of the bridges and roads of the departments traversed by their tracks,
particularly those roads leading to the stations. Furthermore they must
convey free of charge the mails and men in charge of them. Government
materials and articles for the construction of public works, war
materials and stores, troops, government employees on public service,
immigrants sent up country by the central immigration office, and
employees of the provincial police shall be conveyed at one-half of the
regular rates.

There is one American whose name stands high on the roll of honour in the
development of South America, and in particular of Chile and Argentina.
His name is William Wheelwright. This captain of industry was born in
Newburyport, Massachusetts, March 16th, 1798. He came from that sturdy
Puritan stock which has contributed so largely toward making the United
States one of the most enlightened nations in the world. Not a few of his
ancestors rendered conspicuous service in the French and Indian wars,
and one of them served under Washington in the war of the revolution.
He began life as a sailing master in charge of a vessel trading with
South America. Being stranded in the La Plata he finally concluded that
his destiny lay in that part of the world. One enthusiastic Argentinian
biographer calls him “a new Hernando Cortez, who remained in the land of
his shipwreck to conquer its soil, not by arms, but by steam; not for
Spain, but for civilization.” He first began his work at Valparaiso,
Chile, where he transformed that city by constructing docks and
sanitation. He was constantly engaged in voyages of exploration for the
purpose of discovering natural resources and means for their development.
The lack of transportation greatly impressed him, and through his efforts
the Pacific Steam Navigation Company was organized, and he secured
concessions for that company from a number of republics. United States
capitalists turning down this proposition it was finally financed in
England. The two vessels first placed on this route opened a new era on
the west coast of South America, for they were the first transatlantic
steamers to establish regular communication on that coast. At last
he turned his attention to the wild and sparsely populated pampas of
Argentina, at that time an undeveloped but fertile wilderness. Although
his greater project for a transcontinental line failed, he succeeded in
building the first important line in Argentina from Rosario to Cordoba,
a distance of two hundred and forty-six miles. This was done after
seventeen years of reverses due to civil strife and the Paraguayan war.
The road was finally inaugurated on the 16th of May, 1870; and was opened
with imposing military, religious and civil ceremonies. His last public
work was the construction of a railway from Buenos Aires to Enseñada, the
port for La Plata, which was opened just a half-century from the time
of his own shipwreck in that same bay. He had further plans in mind but
his health failed, and he sailed for London to secure medical attention.
His great age was against his recovery and he died in that city on the
28th of September, 1873, and his remains were taken back to his old home
in New England. A monument to his memory has been erected in Buenos
Aires, and several streets have been named after him in Argentina, one in
Rosario.

Just a half century after Wheelwright suggested to English capitalists
the feasibility of a railroad across the Andes to connect the Atlantic
with the Pacific, the road was opened to traffic, although not by the
route contemplated by him. On the 27th of November, 1909, the last thin
line of rock, which remained to complete the tunnel between Chile and
Argentina, was demolished by the explosion of a dynamite charge. Through
the opening thus made the workmen who had been employed on the two ends
mingled, and a line of communication which has been the dream of two
generations, was completed, that may change the political relations
of South America, and which will have a marked effect on commercial
relations throughout the world. On the 25th of May, of last year, this
route was formally inaugurated, and an all-rail route was thus opened up
between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Valparaiso, Chile, thus establishing
the first transcontinental railroad on the continent of South America.
That date is a hallowed one in both republics, for it is the first
centenary of the revolution which gave independence to both nations;
and it is fitting that so auspicious an event should celebrate that
occasion. To the South Americans it is as great an accomplishment as was
the opening up of the first through line across the United States. At the
present time the trip is made from one terminus to the other, a distance
of eight hundred and eighty-eight miles, in thirty-eight hours, and the
officials hope to reduce the running time to twenty-nine hours.

[Illustration: BRIDGE OF THE INCAS]

This through line is made up of three different systems, and there are
as many different gauges of track. The longest section is that through
Argentina, which is seven hundred and seventy-eight miles in length,
or seven-eighths of the entire distance. All of this is now owned and
operated by the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, although it was built
in several different sections and by different companies.

From Buenos Aires to Mendoza, a distance of six hundred and fifty-five
miles, this road is built on the broad gauge plan. At Mendoza a change
is made to the narrow gauge railway, known as the Trasandino Argentino,
with tracks of one meter (3.28 feet) width. The scenery on this line
is very beautiful as it winds around bends, passes through tunnels and
continues to climb up the passes of the Andes. In several sections on
this side, as well as on the Chilean side, where the grade is over 2½
per cent., the Abt system of cogs and racks is used to assist the engine
on the steep climbs. On the way the famous natural bridge, known as the
Bridge of the Incas, is passed, and a hotel has now been built there by
the railroad company. The Trasandino Argentino ends at Las Cuevas, which
is the beginning of the tunnel on that side of the “cumbre.” Las Cuevas
is 10,468 feet above sea level. The tunnel, which passes almost directly
underneath the “Christ of the Andes,” is 10,385 feet in length, of which
a little more than half is on the Argentina side, which is just a few
feet less than the altitude above the sea.

The Chilean terminus of the tunnel is at Caracoles, which is nothing more
than a camp for labourers, and is a few hundred feet higher than Las
Cuevas. From here another railroad of meter gauge, called the Trasandino
Chileno, carries the traveller to the station of Los Andes, a distance
of forty-five miles. It has been found necessary to construct snow sheds
in many places in order to protect the track from snow slides, which are
likely to occur in August and September. From Los Andes to Valparaiso the
route is over the state railroad of Chile, which is of standard gauge (4
feet 8½ inches), and passes through some rich and fertile valleys on its
way towards the Pacific.

This project, which has now reached completion, has had many
vicissitudes. Its real history may be said to date from 1873, when
the first practical step was taken by two brothers named Clark. It was
while engaged in connecting Chile and Argentina by telegraph in 1869
that these brothers conceived the idea that this route was the most
feasible for a transandine railway. The Clarks obtained a concession
for a railroad between Buenos Aires and the Chilean boundary from the
Argentine government, and were soon afterwards climbing over rock and
ridge in the work of surveying these desolate mountains. Several routes
were considered, but the most practical one seemed to be the old Inca
trail across the Andes, and this was the shortest as well. Along this
trail innumerable hordes of the primitive races have passed for unknown
centuries. The Spaniard named it Camino de los Andes, the Andean Trail.
For almost four centuries since the white men found this route, they
have followed it on foot or on mule between the two countries. The first
section was built from Mendoza to Villa Mercedes, a distance of two
hundred and twenty-two miles, and completed in 1880. Three years later
this line was continued to Buenos Aires. In 1887 work was begun from
Mendoza toward the Chilean frontier and new sections were opened up
every few years, but progress was very slow.

On the Chilean side the work progressed even more slowly because of
financial difficulties. Several times construction was begun, and then
stopped because money was not forthcoming from the government, as it was
too costly an undertaking for private capital. In 1901, however, the
financial arrangements were completed through the American firm of W. R.
Grace & Co., and the final work was undertaken in an energetic manner.
Argentina also took up her part again as soon as ultimate success was
assured, and from that time until now the progress has been steady,
but the difficult character of the work necessarily made it slow. Work
on the tunnel was prosecuted from both ends, and it was a difficult
undertaking because of the high altitude. Several lives were lost during
its construction. It was found necessary to line the entire tunnel with
a two-foot facing of cement because of the crumbling nature of the rock
when exposed to the air. It is eighteen feet high and wide enough for a
double track of the broadest gauge. The Chilean government guaranteed
five per cent. on the capital invested in the Trasandino Chileno,
almost seven million dollars, and the Argentine government practically
constructed the Trasandino Argentino Railway. Thus, after thirty-seven
years of work and planning, vicissitudes and discouragements, this
railroad, which promises so much not only for the two governments but
also for the whole of South America, has become an accomplished fact.

Heretofore it has been necessary to go around through the Straits of
Magellan, a voyage of ten days, in order to reach the west coast of Chile
from Buenos Aires, the metropolis of the southern hemisphere. This has
been reduced to a little over a day. It brings Chile nearer to London by
nine days. It is almost in the same latitude as Cape Town and Melbourne,
and may eventually provide a shorter route to Australia from England, if
steamers on one coast should run in conjunction with those on the other.
With the present steamship connection, via the west coast and Panama, it
will be possible to go from New York to Buenos Aires, or _vice versa_, in
twenty days, and this will probably be reduced to at least eighteen days
before a great while. At present the best time made is twenty-four days
by the east coast route, and it generally requires more, as the boats
stop for two or three days oftentimes at Rio de Janeiro and Santos on
their way down and back. When the Panama Canal is completed, there will
no doubt be a direct line of good steamers that will run from New York
direct to Valparaiso. This route will be then still more desirable and
the trip will be made to Valparaiso in not more than two weeks.

North of Mendoza the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway has pushed a line
to San Juan, capital of the province of the same name. This region is
rather sparsely settled, but it has a good irrigation system and will
no doubt attract settlers because of the profits in fruit culture.
South of Mendoza a branch has been built to San Rafael and another is
being constructed to San Carlos. Although most of the country traversed
by these branches presents the appearance of a hopeless, flat and
unproductive desert, it possesses some of the finest soil in the republic
when once irrigation is introduced. Two and even three crops of cereals
can be produced, so it is said, and it is especially well adapted for
grapes and alfalfa. With these and many other branches, and the extension
of its lines to Bahia Blanca, the Pacific road now has the greatest
mileage of any of the Argentine railroads.

The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway may be said to bisect the country
into two parts. North of this line by far the most important railroad is
the Central Argentine. This company controls two thousand five hundred
and thirty miles of track, and is the third system in number of miles in
the republic. By the absorption of a number of smaller lines it now has a
network of main lines and branches which serve that section of Argentina.
The last absorption was of the Buenos Aires and Rosario Railway, which
added more than a thousand miles to its lines and gave it a monopoly of
railway service from the metropolis to the northwestern provinces. It
now operates two main lines between Buenos Aires and Rosario. It also
has under construction extensions and branches which will add nearly six
hundred miles of track to its mileage.

The original section of the Central Argentine Railway was from Rosario
to Cordoba, a distance of two hundred and forty-six miles, for which a
concession was granted to Wheelwright and his associates. From Rosario it
began to construct extensions northwards, southwards and westwards. It
purchased the tracks of the Western, old Northern and lastly the Buenos
Aires and Rosario Railway, until it reached its present commanding place
on the railway map of Argentina. Its southern branches touch the Buenos
Aires and Pacific in several places, and its western feeders reach out
through the provinces of Cordoba and Santa Fé in a number of places.
Northward it reaches the city of Santa Fé.

This railroad is now building a magnificent new station in Buenos Aires
which will cost several millions of dollars, and which will be jointly
used by it and the Pacific line. It is also making great improvements in
its suburban service and dock frontage by filling in the shallow muddy
shore of the river. Furthermore, it has made application to the National
Congress for a franchise, or concession, to construct an underground
electric railway to connect its station with those of the Southern
Railway at Casa Amarillo and Plaza Constitucion. It is also elevating its
tracks in Rosario so as to avoid all level crossings, and is building a
large new station at Cordoba.

[Illustration: RAILWAY STATION, SANTA FÉ]

The purchase of the Buenos Aires and Rosario line gave the Central
Argentine an entrance into the rich province of Tucuman over a track of
the same gauge as its own. After leaving Rosario this line passes through
a rich agricultural section as far as Rafaela, and is intersected by
several branch lines of the Santa Fé system. Shortly after leaving that
place, which itself is only three hundred and fifteen feet above sea
level, the country gradually becomes lower and swampy, being about at its
lowest on the frontier between the provinces of Santa Fé and Santiago del
Estero. After a considerable distance of this low, swampy land the level
rises until it is over six hundred feet in elevation, where a branch four
miles in length connects the main line with the city of Santiago del
Estero, capital of the province of the same name. This city of fifteen
thousand has nothing to distinguish it beyond the fact that it is the
capital of a province. The line continues to reach higher elevation by
easy grades. After crossing the frontier of the province of Tucuman it
reaches a most fertile section and at last enters the pretty little city
of the same name about which the Argentinian writers grow eloquent.

At Tucuman connection is made with the Central Northern Railway, a
national railway of more than twelve hundred miles in length. It starts
at Santa Fé and almost parallels the Central Argentine to Tucuman, at no
point being distant more than fifty miles. It is a narrow gauge track.
Leaving Tucuman it runs in a general northerly direction, but with many
twists and turns in order to avoid the more mountainous sections of the
districts through which it passes. At Tala the frontier of Salta is
crossed at an elevation of two thousand six hundred and seventy feet,
and a short distance further the elevation has increased to over three
thousand feet. It then descends to the little town of Rosario de la
Frontera noted for its thermal springs. At Guenas, one hundred and eighty
miles from Tucuman, a branch runs to Salta, the capital of the province.
This is a neat, well-paved city of about thirty thousand people with
the usual public buildings and churches of a provincial capital. San
Francisco church has a tower over two hundred feet in height which is
pointed to with pride by the inhabitants. This city is very old, having
been founded as early as 1582 under the name of New Seville. Pampa Blanca
(the white pampa), is the first station in the province of Jujuy. Near
here another branch is headed for the rather important town of Oran, but
the main line soon reaches the capital. Jujuy for a long time was the
northerly terminus of the Argentine railway system. This is the highest
town in the republic, and, although near the tropics, the altitude gives
this little city a fine and healthful climate. It has a population of
ten thousand and is distant from Buenos Aires one thousand miles. The
town has nothing to distinguish it, but the surrounding scenery is very
beautiful. Hill and valley, wood and plain all contribute to make up a
most enchanting landscape. The Rio Grande River runs through the town.
It is the general bathing place as well as furnishing the power for the
electric light and some mills located there. There are many thermal
springs in the vicinity which are said to have splendid medicinal
properties. The most noted are those of Los Reyes, the kings. There are
four springs, one above another, the water being at a temperature of one
hundred and twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit.

The Central Northern has recently been extended to La Quiaca, on the
Bolivian frontier, where it will meet the railways of that republic
when they are extended. At present the Bolivian lines reach Tupiza,
and it is about a three days’ journey by coach or mule between the two
points. The distance still to be covered is not very great and completion
is promised in about one year from this writing. There will then be a
continuous railway connection between La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, and
Buenos Aires. Peru is promising a road from Cuzco to Lima, and there will
then be continuous connection with the Peruvian capital, except on Lake
Titicaca over which there is regular steamship service.

The national government also owns a line of railway running from Cordoba
northwest through the mountainous provinces of Rioja and Catamarca, more
than five hundred miles in length. These lines are known as the Argentino
del Norte (Northern), and there is another which is being pushed up
into the Gran Chaco. The government has pursued the beneficent policy
of running its lines through the districts where private enterprise was
afraid to venture because of the uncertainty of the investment. They are
contributing greatly to the development of those regions.

The Central Cordoba Railway is quite an important system. One line runs
to San Francisco, where it connects with the Cordoba and Rosario Railway
which runs to Rosario. Its principal track, however, is a narrow gauge
line which runs from Cordoba in a northerly direction to Tucuman, and,
with its several branches, serves an extensive territory. A goodly part
of the territory traversed is forest land, but a part of it is a salty
waste. An independent entrance to Buenos Aires is now being constructed.
The lines known as the Provincia de Santa Fé start at Rosario and run
north, following the basin of the Paraná River as far as Resistencia,
a town opposite to Corrientes, touching at Santa Fé and nearly all the
important places in that district. They were built by French capital and
now have more than a thousand miles of track. The company is gradually
extending its railhead up into the Gran Chaco, and will probably
eventually reach Asuncion. They are now only a neck behind the lines on
the opposite side of the river and are far ahead from a financial point
of view. They have always paid handsome dividends from the quebracho
wood, which they bring down from the Chaco. It would not be surprising
if this line would eventually be pushed clear up into the state of
Matto-Grosso, Brazil, for development is looking up that way.

The district between the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers is served by two
railway systems, the Entre Rios and Northeastern systems. These two
systems were formerly isolated and had a stormy career for many years.
At the present time they work under a traffic exchange agreement and
their financial standing is now good. These are the only railroads in
the republic, with one exception, of standard gauge, 4 feet 8½ inches
width between the rails. The first mentioned road serves the province
of the same name. It was originally a line that ran from nowhere to
nowhere. The road was built through loans contributed by the government
of the province of Entre Rios in 1885, and was completed three years
later. The money was squandered so recklessly that it cost twice as much
as was necessary, and was built of such poor material that it had to be
rebuilt within a few years. The government soon found itself unable to
meet its obligations and the road was turned over to the bondholders. It
was not placed on a profitable basis until the branches were completed
which connected it with important points in the two provinces through
which it now runs. The main line of the Entre Rios Railway cuts across
this province from Paraná to Uruguay. One branch runs down to a point
near Buenos Aires, and freight cars are now ferried across to that
city. This is the only car ferry in operation in South America, and it
is quite a novelty in that part of the world. Another branch runs to
Concordia where connection is made with the Northeastern system. This
road has one fork which leads up to and another which follows the Uruguay
River. It was built there to carry the traffic around the rapids of
that river where navigation was impossible. It will, however, soon be a
much more important line, for it is gradually approaching Posadas, the
commercial capital of the upper Paraná, and the most important town on
the river north of Rosario. The Paraguay Central is also approaching
Villa Encarnacion, on the opposite side of the Paraná, and within a short
time there will be continuous communication by rail between Asuncion and
Buenos Aires, with the exception of ferrying across two rivers.

South of the transcontinental line there are only two railway companies
now operating. The Western Railway, or, as it is officially called, the
Ferro Carril de Oeste, serves the southwestern part of the province of
Buenos Aires and La Pampa. It reaches one of the richest agricultural
districts of the republic and a section that is rapidly developing. The
various extensions are being pushed out a few miles each year, and this
company now owns fourteen hundred miles of track. The Western Railway
has had a checkered career. In point of age it is the oldest line in the
country, as about fifteen miles of track were built a half century ago.
When this little railroad was inaugurated a great celebration was held,
and the President delivered an address full of optimism and prophetic of
future development. Fortune, however, refused to smile on the project,
and money was scarce, so that the national government was obliged to take
over the road. It was not a success until an English company took it
over in 1890, and began pushing out the extensions over the pampas that
are now bringing in the revenue-producing freight, which has placed the
Western Railway on the road to prosperity.

The Ferro Carril del Sud, or Great Southern Railway, is the second
largest railroad system in Argentina,[1] and one of the best freight
producers. It has a monopoly of the greater part of the rich province of
Buenos Aires, and its main station at Plaza Constitucion in the city of
Buenos Aires is a busy place, with trains continually running in and out
loaded with passengers for the suburbs or more distant points. It was due
to the enterprise of this company that the busy port of Bahia Blanca was
opened, and the seaside resort of Mar del Plata made popular. The section
traversed by the Great Southern is threaded here and there by the many
branches and feeders of this system, and more are being built each year.
Passenger and freight traffic have increased so rapidly that the earnings
per mile have almost doubled in the last ten years. It has built a
strategic line several hundred miles long to Neuquen, almost directly
west of Bahia Blanca, which will eventually become a transcontinental
line. Engineers are now at work selecting the most feasible route across
the Andes to connect with the Chilean state railways. This plan has
already been approved by the directors and work will no doubt be begun
before long.

The Southern has in construction a line south to the port of San Antonio,
to open up the rich lands on the borders of Patagonia. It will connect
with a government road which is now building from San Antonio, which is a
new port on the Gulf of San Matias, westward to Nahuel Huapi, and which
will be about three hundred miles long. The government is to be commended
for its far-sightedness in planning this enterprise. Already a large
part of the road-bed is graded and track has been laid for fifty miles
or more, but service has not yet been begun. Work has also been begun on
a railroad from Puerto Deseado, still farther south than San Antonio,
which will run inland to Nahuel Huapi and open up an extensive country.
This is but the beginning of extensive railroad development in this large
southern section of Argentina, and plans have already been formulated
to extend other lines into the very heart of Patagonia, and over to Lake
Buenos Aires. In all the government now owns and operates a little more
than two thousand miles of main track, which will be increased to fully
three thousand by the new extensions of the old ones now being built.

The amount of traffic carried on these railroads is enormous and reaches
big figures. I have before me the report of one of the greatest systems
of Argentina for the year 1910. This states that the amount of grain
carried by this line for that year, in tons of two thousand two hundred
and five pounds, was as follows: linseed four hundred and two thousand
one hundred and ninety-three, wheat nine hundred and ninety-one thousand
one hundred and eighty-eight, corn one million one hundred and forty-two
thousand four hundred. Other freight carried, not including its own
supplies, amounted to five million nine hundred and eighty-three thousand
one hundred and forty-three tons. Three hundred and forty-one thousand
five hundred and seventy-seven head of live stock were transported. The
number of passengers carried numbered almost fourteen millions. The
gross receipts were twenty-five million dollars. Its capital stock is one
hundred and seventy-five million dollars. It has paid for many years a
regular dividend of six per cent., besides devoting large sums each year
to betterments and extensions. All of these roads have been conducted
along conservative lines, and their stocks are nearly all quoted on the
London stock exchange considerably above par.



CHAPTER XIV

RELIGIOUS FORCES


At the time of the conquest Argentina did not possess a large indigenous
population. Wandering tribes dwelt in all parts of the country from
Tierra del Fuego to Brazil, but the proportion of these Indians was
very small when compared with the extent of territory occupied. On the
slopes of the Andes were found tribes that were very closely allied with
and subject to the Incas, who ruled all along the Pacific coast from
Ecuador to Chile, and there was continuous intercourse between them.
No ruins of temples dedicated to the sun have been found in Argentina,
although some reminders of the Inca civilization have been uncovered
in the northwestern part of the republic. The principal strongholds of
the native tribes were in the northeastern sections of the country,
on the rich plains and low hills which border on the great rivers of
the country. Indians who were related to the Tupi-Guarani tribes who
inhabited Brazil, had established themselves there in considerable
numbers.

These Indians were not so bloodthirsty as those in the extreme south,
although some of them were given to cannibalism. Their slaying of human
beings, however, was for the purpose of food and not as a part of their
religious worship. They were not especially hostile to the incoming
Spaniards, until the members of the tribes began to be impressed into
slavery, and they then resisted the advance of that race in a feeble
way. Their religion was simple and consisted of a few good deities and
a number of evil ones. The former they tried to honour in their simple
way, but a great deal more attention was given to appeasing the latter,
in order to avoid physical suffering, for which they believed these
malevolent deities were responsible. Theirs was an ignorant belief and a
simple faith, and they rather welcomed the teachings of the priests who
first came among them. The new doctrines were accompanied by ceremonies
which appealed to their childlike natures. The chanting in an unknown but
sonorous tongue, the visible emblems and the incense cast a spell over
these simple people, who did not attempt to grasp the abstract idea of a
trinity or the sacrifice of a Saviour.

[Illustration: CHURCH IN CORRIENTES, BUILT IN 1588]

By far the most persistent and determined attempt to convert these
aborigines was made by the Jesuit priesthood. As a result of its tireless
and systematic efforts this order succeeded in establishing in Paraguay,
and the country adjacent to it on the east and south, about the beginning
of the sixteenth century, a seat of power which lasted for two centuries,
and which has been referred to elsewhere in a general way. It developed
into an ecclesiastical autocracy, with the heads of the Jesuit body as
the actual as well as nominal rulers. This remarkable order subdued the
Indians living between the Uruguay and Paraguay rivers, and brought all
of them under its domination. This was done without resort to the sword.
Although these pristine people were reduced to a condition of peonage,
or serfdom, they remained loyal to the Jesuits and assisted them in
repelling all invaders. So secure did the clerical rulers feel in their
position, that all other white persons were forbidden to settle within
the territory over which they claimed jurisdiction. It was perhaps well
for the natives that they did take this position, for the Spanish
adventurers would have enslaved the Indians, just as did the Portuguese
“Paulistas” in Brazil.

When the Jesuits were expelled from Brazil they crossed over the Paraná
River into Paraguay and Northern Argentina. Then was founded Misiones,
a series of missions along the eastern shores of that river. Although
these religious settlements have long since crumbled into ruins, the name
still clings to one of the territories of Argentina. The Jesuit effort
did not extend all over Argentina, but it was felt even to the foothills
of the Andes. The Jesuit emissaries encountered the Spanish advance guard
who had crossed the Cordilleras from Peru and met with a repulse. The
lack of gold in the section occupied by the Jesuits was also in itself a
protection, because it did not excite the cupidity of the gold-seekers.
These settlements were engaged solely in agricultural pursuits. Their
increasing wealth and prosperity, however, did finally excite this
cupidity, and the arrogance of the order aroused an intense jealousy in
the rulers of the province. As a result of these two influences this
order was forcibly expelled in 1768, and their property was confiscated.
Some of it was bestowed on other religious orders, but the most of it
was devoted to secular uses. The power and prestige of the Jesuits among
the natives were not at once destroyed by the blow. For a long time
their influence was paramount, because of the blind obedience of their
followers who had been gathered together in little settlements and had
been taught useful pursuits.

In other parts of the country the subjugation was not so peaceful. Those
Spanish troops who crossed the Andes and entered Argentina from that
direction pursued different tactics. Gold was sought and everything
was sacrificed to that one ambition. The conquerors were determined to
acquire wealth, or at least to secure a means of livelihood without the
necessity of manual labour. The natives were maltreated if they resisted,
and enslaved when once subdued. Where agriculture was attempted these
Indians were compelled to do the work, with no compensation except the
right to live. The priests were always ready to accompany the soldiers on
the most arduous campaigns. Without raising a hand against indiscriminate
slaughter they held up the crucifix to the survivors, and then turned
about and risked their own lives to spread the Christian faith into
hitherto untrodden regions. Even the desolate interior of Patagonia was
not too distant or too inaccessible for these indefatigable missionaries.
Sword in one hand and the cross in the other these teachers of religion
spread the doctrines of their church over the whole of the La Plata basin
and the rest of South America, and gave Roman Catholicism such a grasp on
the continent that it will probably never be broken. The one difficult
thing to understand is how the Church of Rome could countenance the
harsh and bloody methods of subjugation pursued under the very eyes of
its commissioned representatives, and the violation of all the ethics of
humanity as well as Christianity, unless it was simply the spirit of the
age with which even the heads of the Church were also imbued. The Jesuits
founded schools for the natives, in their settlements, but the other
orders did not do this, although they aided in inculcating orderly ways
among them.

The alliance of Church and State still exists in Argentina. The second
article in the constitution reads as follows: “The federal government
supports the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church.” This condition exists in
all the republics of South America, except Brazil. The president and
vice-president must be members of that church. Religious liberty prevails
and absolute freedom of worship is guaranteed to all persons of whatever
belief. Protestant or Jew has the same right to erect a place of worship
as the Roman Catholic. The alliance of Church and State, however, tends
to weaken each. It oftentimes drags down the high office of the Church
to the low level of politics and tends to cheapen its influence. It
sometimes ties up the government in ways that work to its detriment. It
will be better for the Church as well as government when this alliance is
separated. It will probably not be many years before the final break will
come in Argentina, and it is to be hoped that it will come peaceably and
without a rupture of peaceful conditions.

Although the Church is a nominal partner of the State it seemed to the
writer that its influence was not particularly strong. The day when the
Archbishop could dictate government policies has evidently passed away.
The bond between them is weak. It appears to be an age of remarkable
indifference toward religion. The men openly avow their indifference and
say that they “leave religion to the women.” A visit to the churches
is a practical demonstration of that statement so often reiterated.
The great Cathedral of Buenos Aires, which seats many thousands, will
oftentimes have only a mere handful of men at the regular services
within its walls. Some of the moral conditions in the republic show that
the cardinal teachings of the Church are not being followed, although
practically all are nominal adherents. How much of this condition might
be improved by a better priesthood would be difficult to estimate. Any
statement made might be construed as based upon an erroneous view, or
given from a prejudiced standpoint. It is a fact, however, that there is
great room for a religious awakening in Argentina, as well as the rest
of South America, and the Roman Catholic Church appears to be the only
one able to propagate this work aggressively among the many millions of
inhabitants.

Protestantism has not gained much of a foothold among the
Spanish-speaking population. There are a great many adherents of
Protestant denominations among the British and German population.
In Buenos Aires, Rosario and Bahia Blanca the Anglican and Scotch
Presbyterian churches have edifices and support ministers. They are
organized solely for the people of that faith, and do not make any effort
to evangelize those speaking other languages, as their services are
conducted only in English. Occasional services are held in other cities
where a colony of English-speaking people resides.

The only church that is aggressively pushing its work in Argentina is the
Methodist Episcopal Church. This church has about thirty missionaries
at work in various parts of the republic, and a number of congregations
have been successfully established. Buenos Aires is naturally the centre
of their efforts, and in that city they have organized a half dozen
churches. Of these the principal one is on Calle Cangallo, in the heart
of the city. This is generally known as the American Church, for people
who are members of the various non-Catholic bodies all unite in the
services here, which are conducted wholly in English. The pastor, Rev.
W. P. McLaughlin, has been in charge of this work for almost two decades
and is very much beloved by all. This church is entirely self-supporting
and contributes considerable sums to the work in the other churches.
The other churches of this denomination in Buenos Aires are intended
for work among the Spanish-speaking population, with the exception of
an Italian mission. Congregations have likewise been formed in Rosario,
Bahia Blanca, Cordoba, Santa Fé, La Plata, Mendoza, San Juan, Chacabuco,
Junin and other cities. They claim a membership exceeding five thousand
and seem to be very much encouraged in their work.

Educational work has received considerable attention from this body and
a number of schools are conducted by it in which well-qualified teachers
from the United States conduct the classes. These schools are recognized
as worthy institutions, and many families send their children to them
even though they do not accept that faith. Their influence cannot be
other than beneficial and uplifting, for any effort that aims to spread
enlightenment and moral ethics cannot fail to be of service in the
general advancement of the country. Their work will likewise stimulate
similar effort by others, and thus the general cause of education and
morality is greatly furthered.

The Morris system of schools was founded by an Englishman as a missionary
enterprise, but the scope of the work has since been broadened, until
now it has become a great educational enterprise with several thousand
students under its tutelage. The schools receive government aid, and by
that means those in charge have been enabled to branch out much more than
was permitted by the limited means in the early years of their history.

The Young Men’s Christian Association has a very flourishing society in
Buenos Aires which is doing a great work. At present they are hampered
by poor quarters, but a campaign had just been ended at the time of the
writer’s visit and two hundred thousand dollars had been secured for
a new building. A site was purchased in a central location and work
was to start at once on a fine new building. With these new quarters
and enlarged equipment, the work of this great world-wide organization
ought to be increased many fold, and there is room for all the effort
it is able to put forth. The Young Men’s Christian Association forms a
rallying place for young men who have broken away from home ties and
started life in a foreign country. The extension of the work among the
Spanish-speaking people also brings about a fraternizing between the two
races which is exceedingly beneficial.



CHAPTER XV

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST OPPRESSION


The reign of Ferdinand and Isabella is perhaps the most noteworthy epoch
in Spanish history. It resounded with the clash of arms and with the
thirst for discovery. It was also an era of intolerance. A distinctive
tendency toward cruelty has ever been a prominent trait of the Spanish
character. The driving out of the Moors and the elimination of the
Moorish civilization, the harsh treatment of the Jews and, finally, the
establishment of the Inquisition are all indicative of that tendency.
These traits were carried with them into the New World in their worst
forms. The Spanish expeditions to South America were marked by ferocious
cruelty, unlimited bloodshed, and an unquenchable lust for treasure. A
low standard of personal relations as well as a narrow conception of
public morality prevailed. It was from the very worst of the population
of Spain that the early colonists to Spanish South America came. Most of
them were adventurers who had nothing to lose, and who were quite willing
to risk their lives for the possibility of treasure. It is not unnatural
that the worst characteristics of the Spanish character should early
be developed, and to an abnormal degree. One quality they had to aid
them—there was no lack of personal courage. Ignorant they might be, but
of personal bravery there was no question, as their deeds bear witness.

In South America there were two great racial divisions, besides the
tribes dwelling in Patagonia, who were quite different to either of
the others. On the Pacific slope the Incas had joined together the
various tribes from north of Quito to Chile into a great community over
which they exercised supreme power. The people lived under established
conditions; they built towns and public works and were proficient in
agriculture. On the Atlantic side of the Andes, from Venezuela to the
La Plata, the Indians belonged to Tupi-Guarani stock. The features and
habits of some of the tribes had become slightly modified, but they show
enough similarities to leave small doubt as to their common origin. These
tribes were all nomadic, and existed principally on the products of the
chase or wild fruits which they gathered. The Araucanian and Tehuelche
Indians of Patagonia were also nomadic, but they are of a different
temperament.

For three centuries after its discovery no immigration was permitted
to the South American colonies except of Spaniards. These Spaniards
intermarried freely with native women. From this mixture grew up the
greater part of the original population of Argentina, as well as the
other colonies. The gradual development of population and wealth was
little understood in the mother country. Trade with foreign countries was
prohibited, all mineral wealth was heavily taxed and the Crown “milked”
the colonies in every way. All of the officials were native Spaniards.
A feeling of animosity gradually grew up among the colonists toward
the Spaniards which finally led to the outbreak of hostilities at the
commencement of the nineteenth century. South Americans perhaps give too
little importance to the influence of the United States in the outcome
of their struggles for liberty. The idea of America for the Americans
existed long before the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. That
idea was in the minds of Washington and his co-workers. Their success
also fired the patriotism of Bolivar, San Martin and other South American
liberators.

The story of Argentina is but another chapter in the history of the
short-sighted attitude of Spain toward her colonies in the New World.
The sole purpose of the colonial policy of Spain seemed to be to protect
the trading monopoly which had been farmed out to the merchants of
Cadiz, and to keep a record of the production of silver and gold, in
order to insure the collection of the royal one-fifth. Every Atlantic
port of South America was closed to traffic except Nombre de Dios, on
the coast of Panama. Everything destined for that continent had to be
taken there, transported across the isthmus and reloaded to vessels
on the Pacific. Goods destined for Argentina also had to follow this
route. They were carried by vessels to Callao, Peru, and from there were
taken overland even as far as Buenos Aires. It was for this reason that
the early settlers of Argentina mostly came in from the Andes side. To
further enforce this monopoly of trade the governors of Buenos Aires were
instructed to forbid all importation and exportation from that port
under penalty of death and forfeiture of property to those engaged in it.

It is little wonder that a system of corruption and an evasion of
such iniquitous laws was developed. The several governors recommended
modifications, but the Cadiz merchants were obdurate. Smuggling and
surreptitious trading grew popular, and the officials soon became silent
partners in the traffic. Although the laws remained upon the statute
books nothing could keep the people from trafficking with their own
products. Buenos Aires became a community of smugglers. English and Dutch
ships landed their goods under the very noses of officials, took their
pay in hides or money and then continued their way around Cape Horn to
the west coast, where the same process was repeated. Mule trains carried
these goods thus illegally entered across the plains to Cordoba and
Tucuman; the officials along the way winking at this evasion of unpopular
laws. The profits were distributed among officials and the soldiers were
hired to shut their eyes. The abstract right of the government to enact
such restrictive regulations was never questioned. They broke the laws
without any qualms of conscience, but contesting them was not even
dreamed of. The idea that the right to trade or to practise a profession
existed only by sufferance of the government has not been eradicated even
to this day. It is a relic of this age. It is not surprising that office
holding became the popular vocation and has remained so even to the
twentieth century.

For a long period the whole of South America was under the viceroyalty
of Peru. Some of the larger capitals had bodies of officials known as
Audiencias. The viceroyalty was divided into provinces, each of which had
a governor. Each new region occupied was organized into a municipality,
which was the real unit of their political structure. The governing body
of this municipality was termed the Cabildo, and was composed of from
six to twelve members who were appointed and held office for life. This
body exercised the civil and judicial administration. Most of these
men secured their appointment through actual purchase. The territorial
jurisdiction of these municipalities was generally poorly defined, and it
was sometimes almost coextensive with the province. Although the colonial
governor was supposed to give a full account of his administration,
he often failed to do so and conducted his office as a despotic and
irresponsible ruler.

The governors were always Spaniards, and only one exception appears
in Argentina, Hernandarios Saavedra. This man appears as one of the
brightest names during the seventeenth century. For several years he
acted as governor of Buenos Aires, and he did a great deal of good in
securing justice to the Indians and curbing the military power. He
retained the confidence of both natives and Spaniards by his reputation
for giving a square deal to all sides. Under his policy the colonies
prospered and the pastoral pursuits were greatly extended. The sixteenth
century contained very little of interest to the general reader. The
inhabited portions were extended but little, and there were one or two
uprisings of Indians against the white man’s rule. Only one was serious
and that was of the tribes on the Andean slopes, who were stirred up by a
leader who claimed to be the direct descendant of the old Inca princes.
This disturbance lasted for fifty years, but it ended with the capture
and execution of the leader, who was known to the Spaniards as Bohorquez.

Some struggles took place between the Portuguese settlers of Brazil and
the Spaniards, who had attempted to penetrate the regions watered by the
upper Paraná. The “Paulistas,” inhabitants of the state of São Paulo,
resisted the encroachments of the Spaniards, as they feared the Jesuit
influences, which they both feared and hated. They raided the settlements
of that order in Misiones and carried off several thousand of the poor
natives as captives. The Iguassú River and the east bank of the Uruguay
seemed to be adopted informally as the dividing line between the two
races, although later differences arose over the territory now embraced
in the republic of Uruguay. The Portuguese established a settlement,
called Colonia, in 1680, almost opposite to Buenos Aires, which was ever
a sore spot for the Spaniards and gave rise to much trouble. It became a
harbouring place for smugglers and offenders against Spanish laws, but it
remained under Portuguese control for a long period.

With the eighteenth century Spain adopted a little more liberal policy
toward her colonies in regard to trade. The prestige which England and
Holland had obtained practically forced certain concessions. Uruguay
began to be settled by Spaniards. The increase in population and greater
demand for wool and hides in Europe caused a remarkable advance in trade.
In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled, as they had been in Brazil some time
previous. This order had accumulated enormous wealth and ruled a large
section of the country with an iron hand. The members of the order were
forcibly driven out and their property sold at auction or divided among
other orders.

In 1776, just a few days after the declaration of independence in the
American colonies, Buenos Aires was established as a viceroyalty. Lake
Titicaca on the north, and the Andes on the west, were established as
the boundary lines. It included the territory now divided into the four
republics of Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay. South of the city
of Buenos Aires, however, there was practically no development. The first
viceroy was named Pedro de Zeballos, who came over with a large force of
soldiers and sailors in order to drive out the Portuguese. Free commerce
with Spain was now permitted and commerce greatly increased. Buenos
Aires became the centre of all this trade, was greatly prospered and its
population rapidly increased. Wines, brandies, hides, tobacco and maté
(Paraguay tea) were the principal articles exported to Europe.

The beginning of the nineteenth century saw unrest all over South
America. It began in Quito, Ecuador, and spread in every direction.
It did not take long to reach the loosely cohered sections of the
viceroyalty of Buenos Aires, in which the different elements had not
coalesced. The Spaniards generally lived in the populated centres, while
the gauchos, mostly half-breeds, had their homes on the broad pampas.
It was essentially democratic as compared with more aristocratic Peru
and Mexico. The only common bond was religion, and that was not strong.
Spain’s selfish policy had destroyed her prestige, while the revolutions
in France and North America had propagated the idea of democracy among
the youth.

Perhaps no one incident had greater influence upon the final events than
the attempt of England, encouraged by her successes in South Africa, to
capture Buenos Aires. In June, 1806, a British fleet bearing on board
fifteen hundred troops appeared in the La Plata. The Viceroy immediately
fled, and the British flag soon floated over his late residence. For
several weeks the people acquiesced in this change, but a Frenchman,
named Jacques de Liniers, headed the opposition. He organized a force
in Montevideo and advanced on Buenos Aires. The citizens, reanimated
by his enthusiasm, flocked to his banner and, after some bloody street
fighting, the English were compelled to surrender. Their flags were
captured and are still exhibited as trophies of Argentine prowess in the
Church of Santo Domingo in that city. The success of the Argentinos,
who had accomplished this victory without help from the mother country,
greatly encouraged the patriots and aroused in them a hope of separation
from Spain. Reinforcements came from England, to renew the conflict.
The troops marched confidently into the city. The flat roofs of the
buildings and the parapet-like fronts, however, provided excellent
shelter for the defenders, and the British general was finally compelled
to ask for terms. He had lost a quarter of his force but was allowed to
leave on honourable terms. The attempt of Napoleon to place his brother,
Joseph Bonaparte, on the throne of Spain also fermented the spirit of
revolution that was becoming rampant, for the people felt no loyalty or
allegiance to this upstart. A new Viceroy was sent out by the mother
country, but he did not remain in peace very long. In an effort to
placate the Spanish-American colonies a royal decree was issued that the
colonies were considered an integral part of the monarchy and should have
representatives in the Cortes. “At last you are raised to the dignity of
free men,” came the message to the colonists. It was too late.

A group of patriots had already risen who were holding meetings to decide
what could be done in this crisis. The leader in this band was Manuel
Belgrano. They decided to ask the resignation of the Viceroy and waited
on him with this request. He knew that his position was untenable because
of the disaffection among the troops. On the 25th of May, 1810,[2] an
armed assembly met on the plaza in front of the government palace under
the leadership of Belgrano, Moreno, Castelli and Valcarcel. The colours
of blue and white were seen everywhere, for these were the colours
adopted by the revolutionists. A provisional junta was selected who
assumed the executive powers of government. For several years, however,
their acts all run in the name of Ferdinand VII, King of Castile and
Leon. No attempt was made at this time to secure the adherence of the
other provinces, but emissaries were later sent asking their coöperation.
Troops were afterwards sent, and a number of encounters occurred. Both
sides killed their prisoners as a general rule, and the combats were very
sanguinary.

Manuel Belgrano was a native of Buenos Aires. He had been educated
in Spain and had there imbibed republican ideas. His enthusiasm,
his radicalism and his ability soon placed him at the head of the
revolutionary forces. Though lacking in military training he proved
himself an able general. He led an unsuccessful expedition into Paraguay,
whither he went to induce the Paraguayans to join in the revolt. Another
great defeat had been given the Argentine forces in Bolivia. Montevideo
was evacuated, and the situation was becoming desperate. Belgrano was
then placed in command and gathered together the scattered forces
at Tucuman. The result was a decisive victory for the patriots. The
gaucho cavalry followed the fleeing Spaniards clear to the boundaries
of Bolivia, and inflicted great losses upon them. Belgrano foolishly
followed up this real victory by another invasion of Bolivia, and met
with an overwhelming defeat at Vilapugio, and again at Ayohuma. With
the remnant of his army he returned to Argentine territory, and was
succeeded in command by San Martin, who proved to be the real genius of
the struggle for independence.

José de San Martin first saw the light on the 25th of February, 1778,
in a little town on the Uruguay River, his father being an officer in
the Spanish army. While still a small boy he was taken to Spain to be
educated. Entering a military school, for his father had destined him
for a military career, he finished that course, and at an early age
enlisted in the army. He served in the many wars of that country against
Napoleon, and rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He also fought for
a time under the great English general, Wellington, in his campaign in
the Iberian peninsula. In these conflicts San Martin had imbibed liberal
principles, and a hatred of all forms of oppression and injustice filled
his soul. The success of the American republic inspired him as well as
others, so that he joined with many in a secret society, pledged to the
work of establishing a republic in Spain.

Man proposes, but God disposes. The struggle for independence in
Argentina appealed to this patriot and he decided to return to his
native land. He arrived at an opportune time, for the successes of the
Spanish troops had plunged the patriots into despair. In March, 1812, San
Martin landed in Buenos Aires. His first step was to organize and drill
some effective regiments of infantry in that city, for men trained in
military tactics were wanting. He selected the finest physical and moral
specimens of manhood that could be found, and subjected them to a rigid
discipline. The lazy and cowardly ones were weeded out, until he had only
a small force, but this body was composed of real soldiers. With these
men he gained some victories, but success did not seem possible to him
along these lines. He therefore planned a new move with all the genius
of a great commander, who cares not for temporary success but sees only
ultimate victory.

To San Martin the only hopeful plan seemed to be to drive the Spaniards
out of Chile, and then attack Peru, the stronghold of Spanish power in
South America. He aimed not only for the independence of Argentina, but
of all of that great continent; he vowed he would not be satisfied until
the last Spanish soldier had left the soil of South America, and every
province was free. To this end he sought the appointment as governor of
Cuyo, nestling up against the Andes on the direct route to Chile, and now
known as the province of Mendoza, in Argentina. The inhabitants of that
section, who breathed the free air of the mountains, were notoriously
anti-Spanish, brave and enduring. Chilean patriots who had been exiled
were numerous here, too, and it offered good recruiting ground. He
brought with him as a nucleus a part of the troops he had drilled in
Buenos Aires, and the government later sent him a corps of negro slaves,
who had been freed from bondage. For three years San Martin laboured
steadily building up a great war machine. Though civil war waged in and
around the capital he kept aloof from all these disturbances, and busied
himself in recruiting, drilling and instructing officers, as well as
men, raising taxes, gathering provisions, making powder, casting guns,
building portable bridges and making all arrangements for transport and
commissariat on his contemplated march into Chile.

Dictator succeeded dictator, military chief followed military chief in
Buenos Aires. A formal act of independence from Spain had been drawn up
and proclaimed on the 9th of July, 1816, in Tucuman, where Congress had
convened for that purpose. Pueyrredon was selected as supreme director.
He was succeeded by Rordeau, and he again was defeated by Artigas.
Then came Ramirez and other military leaders who gained more or less
power and authority. San Martin paid no attention to these military or
governmental affairs. One idea, one definite plan absorbed all his energy
and attention. This plan he confided to no one. This taciturn general,
however, was preparing a thunderbolt that would clear the Argentine sky
of all these clouds, except internal dissensions. When summer came in
1817, which is our winter, and all the passes were freed from snow, he
felt that he was ready to advance. Among his forces were the picked youth
of Buenos Aires, reckless, enthusiastic and ambitious, who were willing
to follow this leader anywhere; manumitted negroes, who were scarcely
inferior to their white comrades; Chilean exiles, who preferred death to
submission, and looked upon this as their only hope of again seeing their
homes. All of these men had been thoroughly drilled in the arts of war
as practised by the armies of Europe in the Napoleonic era. No detail had
been omitted. The last few months had been spent in preparing rations of
dried beef and parched corn, in gathering mules for transport, and in
making sledges to be used on the slopes which were too steep for cannon
on wheels. Every possible route across the Andes had been examined, and
the most careful calculation of distances made. Spies were placed in all
the passes, and the Spaniards were kept in absolute ignorance as to which
of many passes along hundreds of miles of frontier would be used for the
impending attack. These men were sworn to remain “united in sentiment and
courage, in order not to suffer for the future any tyrant in America; and
like new Spartans never to bear the chains of slavery while the stars
shone in the sky and blood ran in their veins.”

The precautions of this astute leader are shown by the fact that his
real intentions were not revealed until on the very eve of the advance,
through fear of treachery. In the middle of January General San Martin
broke camp and left Mendoza. His army was divided into two divisions.
The smaller force was sent through what is known as the Uspallata pass,
which was the old Inca trail, and is now followed by the railway which
has just been completed across the Andes. This trail runs across the
Bridge of the Incas, one of the most famous natural bridges in the world.
The other followed the more difficult pass of Las Platas, farther to the
north. The solitude, barrenness and utter desolation of these Andean
passes can only be fully appreciated by those who have traversed them as
has the writer. Majestic Aconcagua looks down upon both routes, and all
around are lofty peaks which seem like giant sentinels guarding these
solitudes of nature from the invasion of man. Terrific wind and snow
storms are common, and the dust blows in clouds that are almost stifling
at times. It was an undertaking that would have appalled an ordinary man.

[Illustration: SAN MARTIN AND O’HIGGINS AT LA CUMBRE, CROSSING THE ANDES
INTO CHILE

Courtesy of the Bulletin of Pan-American Union]

But San Martin was no ordinary man. A high and lofty purpose thrilled his
soul and steeled his heart against all discouragement. An advance guard
of the Spaniards in the Uspallata pass was driven out by that wing of
his little army of four thousand men. Before reinforcements could come
up the two divisions had successfully accomplished the crossing and
were united. Disconcerted by the report that two armies had crossed the
Andes and were advancing against him, the Spanish commander retreated
to Santiago for reinforcements. With admirable forethought San Martin
chose his positions and awaited the conflict which was inevitable. The
two armies approached each other. The Spanish commander had a superior
force, composed of veterans of the peninsular wars. San Martin’s men
were inspired by an enthusiastic commander and a love of country. The
battle raged for hours until, surrounded on three sides by the enemy,
their artillery gone, a third of their number dead on the field of
battle, the Spanish forces broke and fled toward Santiago. Less than half
their number escaped death or capture. Thus was the decisive battle of
Chacabuco won by the patriots on the 12th of February, 1817, with a loss
of only twelve men killed. The next day the Spanish governor of Chile
was flying from the capital, and two days later the conquerors entered
that city. San Martin had won his first great victory, and was everywhere
hailed as a deliverer.

Steadfast in his purpose of driving the Spaniards from all of South
America the victor refused to be drawn into local fights. The Argentine
patriots were fighting among themselves and his friends wanted San Martin
to return and aid them. This he refused to do, and his friends were
embittered. Unwilling to accept the supreme authority in Chile, General
O’Higgins, who had materially assisted in the victory at Chacabuco,
was selected as executive. The independence of Chile was soon after
proclaimed. In connection with Lord Cochrane, an English officer, San
Martin began to devote all his energies to the building of a fleet, in
order to drive the hated Spaniards from Peru. Three years more were
spent in these preparations. At last, in 1820, a little fleet was ready,
and he sailed with a small army for that stronghold of Spanish power.
In four months, without a pitched battle, he sent the enemy flying from
Peru. Lima yielded and that country was declared to be independent.
He then assumed the rôle of protector of Peru and commander in chief
of the insurgent army. San Martin desired to coöperate with Bolivar,
and a personal interview was arranged between these two liberators at
Guayaquil. Bolivar refused. Without a word of explanation, without a
complaint, the disappointed San Martin gave up the command of the army,
resigned the dictatorship of Peru to Bolivar, and left that country.
There was no place for him in Argentina, except as a leader in civil
war, and this he would not indulge in. For honours or position he
cared not. Thus he went into voluntary exile. Rather than jeopardize
the independence secured after so much hard fighting, rather than take
part in the divisions of the factions fighting among themselves, he
sacrificed home, friends and honours, and even submitted to cruel charges
of ingratitude and cowardice. Few finer examples of unselfishness are
recorded in the annals of the world’s history. If not abler San Martin
was at least more unselfish than Bolivar.

General San Martin, heartbroken and disappointed, went to
Boulogne-sur-Mer, in France, and established his home. The remaining
years of his life were passed in obscurity and poverty, with only a
faithful daughter to comfort and cheer his old age. Once he started for
the land of his birth, and got as far as Montevideo. There he learned
that Argentina was in the throes of a revolution. Fearing that his
presence might be misconstrued, the old warrior sorrowfully turned his
face back toward France. The generosity of a Spaniard was all that
saved this hero from absolute want during the last few years of his
life, for he lived to a good old age. Reading was the only resource left
to brighten his later years, but approaching blindness deprived him of
even this pleasure during the last few months. On the 17th of August,
1850, General San Martin expired in the arms of his loving and faithful
daughter.

It was many years before Argentina fully appreciated the services of this
grand old man, and it was then too late to bring cheer to his broken
heart. His sacred remains were brought back to Buenos Aires and placed
in the Cathedral, where they now repose. Honours were decreed him. There
are few cities in that republic that have not erected a monument to his
memory. Chile and Peru have raised statues in his honour. Only a few
months ago the Argentine government dedicated a fine memorial in the
French city where he died. Last year, while Argentina was celebrating her
first centennial, the memory of the patriot San Martin was kept green,
and the youth were taught his great and unselfish love of country. It is
little wonder that the Argentinians do not go into raptures over the name
of Bolivar, but hold up their own San Martin as the real liberator of at
least four of the republics of South America.

For a half-century following the 25th of May, 1810, the history of
Argentina is a record of wars, revolutions and other disturbances. It
was the unavoidable conflict between centralizationists and autonomists,
between military and civil principles of government. A detailed account
of all these conflicts would be confusing and wearisome, and it can best
be treated in a consideration of those involved in the struggle.

An oligarchy grew up in Buenos Aires at first that sought to rule the
rest of the original viceroyalty in almost as arbitrary a manner as
Spain herself had done. This caused constant friction with the other
cities, each of which aspired to be an independent province. Military
chieftains arose here and there who defied the authority of that
oligarchy. Civil war broke out in numerous places, and bloody encounters
took place followed by much devastation. Within a few years nearly all
the provinces were practically independent of Buenos Aires and there
were a half dozen centres of authority, although that city did not yield
in her pretensions. San Martin was peremptorily ordered to return, but
refused. Belgrano attempted to lead his army there, but they revolted and
abandoned him, joining the local forces. The outside provinces themselves
split up through local differences. Cordoba lost Rioja, from the old
intendencia of Salta seceded Tucuman, Santiago del Estero and Catamarca,
and Cuyo split up into Mendoza, San Juan and San Luiz. Buenos Aires
itself was subdivided, losing Uruguay, Corrientes, Santa Fé and Entre
Rios. Thus were formed the provinces which have since become the units of
the Argentine confederation. The outside provinces were willing to unite
with Buenos Aires on an equal basis, but the people of that city would
not consent on such terms.

For years no really constructive statesman appeared out of the confusion
and selfishness of the oligarchies. At last there loomed above all the
personality of Rivadavia, who undertook the reformation of the laws
and their administration. He introduced numerous reforms and founded
a number of charitable institutions, and infused a more modern spirit
into the government. A congress met in Buenos Aires in 1825, in which
all the provinces were represented by delegates. By this time the
independence of the Argentine Confederation had been acknowledged by all
of the leading powers except Spain. Rivadavia and his followers gained
control of this assembly. In the following year he was elected president,
although this selection did not mean much because of the power of the
military chieftains, called caudillos. Buenos Aires was not satisfied
because of his plan to place the city under the direct control of the
federal government, much as Washington in the United States. At the
same time war broke out with Brazil. That country attempted a blockade,
but the doughty Irish sailor, William Brown, made this ineffective.
He destroyed a large part of their fleet. General Alvear defeated the
Brazilians at Ituzaingo, and this victory caused great rejoicing.
Negotiations for peace followed soon afterwards. Rivadavia’s envoy agreed
to allow Uruguay to remain a part of the empire of Brazil, and this
treachery aroused such a wave of indignation that he was compelled to
resign. He was succeeded by Dorrego. Dorrego did not rule long in peace.
The standard of revolt was raised in Buenos Aires and General Lavalle
declared himself as governor. Dorrego fled to the interior, but was
pursued. He was finally captured and, without even the form of a trial,
was shot by the direct order of Lavalle. This precipitated a bloody civil
war which soon desolated Argentina. The gauchos arose in revolt, and a
series of campaigns began in different sections of the country. It is the
leader of the southern gauchos who stands out as the strongest historical
character of this period.

One of the most picturesque figures in Argentine history is Juan Manuel
Rosas, a native of the province of Cordoba, who soon became the chief
figure in Argentine affairs. This man ruled the new nation with an iron
hand for almost two decades. He became an absolute tyrant and the most
bitterly hated man in the country. Descendant of a wealthy family he
devoted himself to pastoral pursuits from early life. By the time he was
twenty-five he was the undisputed leader of the gauchos on the southern
pampas, and had a full regiment of the half-breed horsemen of the plains
at his back and ready to do his bidding. He had been fairly well educated
and had ability, but this talent was not supported by character. He can
best be compared with the notorious Santa Anna, of Mexico, in his greed
for power, his cruelty and his craving for homage. Another similar type
was the half-savage Carrera of Guatemala.

Rosas first appeared in public life at the head of a troop of gaucho
cavalry, in a revolution that began in 1818. During the civil war he
gave valuable aid to the Federalist cause. After a decisive defeat of
the famous General Lavalle in 1829 he was appointed governor over the
province of Buenos Aires with the rank of Captain-General, and this
made him nominal head of Argentina. This event gave this monster his
first taste of power and whetted his insatiable appetite for more. The
remaining provinces were gradually subdued and one after another came
under the authority of this dictator, although thousands of lives were
lost in the conquest. As a rule no quarter was given, and the losing side
generally fought it out to the last man. On one occasion five hundred
prisoners were shot in cold blood at Tucuman. From the year 1832 the
power of Rosas became absolute. Says Mr. Akers: “Unitarian advocates
were hunted down like wild beasts. Rosas became suspicious of his own
generals, and one by one they disappeared. Quiroga was assassinated at
Cordoba; Lopez died suddenly in Buenos Aires; and Cullen, Reinafe and
Heredia were sentenced to death. Under the tyranny of Rosas human life
had small value. If any man was a danger to the dictatorial régime he was
murdered by a band of assassins retained for this purpose. Expression
of public opinion was rendered impossible. Men dared not think for
themselves, much less put into words their abhorrence of the dictator.”

The attempt of Rosas to close the Paraná to foreign commerce led to a
blockade of Buenos Aires by French and English warships in 1845, so that
this attempt failed. He also endeavoured to annex Uruguay, but foreign
influence prevented this also. These acts made him intensely jealous
of foreign governments. Nevertheless, with all foreign powers against
him, and with powerful forces in his own land opposing him, he ruled
Argentina with despotic tyranny for eighteen years. Rosas placed his
political favourites at the head of the provincial governments, but he
was not able to keep them loyal to his interests. His arbitrary acts
alienated his best friends. The longer he ruled the more united became
all other factions. A common hatred of the tyrant overshadowed all other
differences of opinion. Foreigners were excluded from the provinces,
everything imported or exported was required to be transhipped at Buenos
Aires in order that duties might be collected. It was not long until the
whole population was ready to support a rebellion. The provinces which
had placed this tyrant in power finally overthrew him.

The chief lieutenant of Rosas for many years had been General Urquiza,
whom he appointed governor of the province of Entre Rios. The
administration of Urquiza was successful, and he could always be counted
on to raise troops for Rosas from among the ranchmen of that province.
Urquiza was a “caudillo”, but had no particular thirst for power. At
last, in 1846, the rupture with the tyrant came, and from that time on
Urquiza led the fight against Rosas. Three times his efforts failed, but
the fourth time in alliance with some Brazilian and Uruguayan troops he
crossed the river with an army of twenty-four thousand, the largest army
ever assembled on South American soil up to that time. Rosas awaited
Urquiza at Buenos Aires and trusted all to a single battle. Of his army
half deserted him and many of his officers betrayed him. The result was a
disastrous defeat for the tyrant-dictator. When General Urquiza entered
Buenos Aires, Rosas fled the country. Clad as an English sailor he
escaped to a British man-of-war and was conveyed to England. He lived on
a farm near Southampton until his death on the 14th of March, 1877, upon
the proceeds of his ill-gotten wealth.



CHAPTER XVI

THE ERA OF DEVELOPMENT


The great question that was ever disturbing peace in Argentina was the
fight between the Federalists, those who favoured a centralized power,
and the Unitarians, who wanted the provinces to remain supreme. It was
similar to the problem of states’ rights as against a strong union,
which was not settled in the United States until a disastrous civil war
had been waged between the two factions. The question first arose under
Rivadavia, who allowed it to drift along. It did drift, and became more
formidable each year until it became the pivot around which all struggles
centred, and was the primary cause of forty years of strife and much
bloodshed. The province of Buenos Aires was always a strong adherent of
the Unitarian idea, for that meant its continued supremacy by reason of
its overshadowing strength. For that reason the other provinces rejected
it. As the city of Buenos Aires enlarged, the question became more and
more formidable. The mooted theme caused Rivadavia to resign his office;
it made possible the disastrous dictatorship of Rosas; it hampered
Presidents Urquiza and Mitre in the reforms attempted by them. It was not
until Buenos Aires was forcibly organized into a Federal District that
this cause of perpetual friction disappeared.

Argentina felt a sense of relief upon the downfall of Rosas, and once
more the people breathed freely. The supreme power naturally fell into
the hands of the victorious General Urquiza. The provinces had suffered
most severely during the long period of civil wars. In Rioja the
government had been overthrown fifteen times in seven months. Some of
them were isolated, others had been badly devastated, but all of them
were poor. Buenos Aires alone had increased in wealth and population.
Hundreds of liberals had left the city or been exiled, but thousands
had sought that city as a refuge from the disorders of the interior.
Many English and Irish had settled in that province and engaged in the
raising of sheep and cattle. The city alone contained one-fourth of the
entire population of the confederation, and the rest of the province had
increased more rapidly than any of the others. Although military rule was
ended with the change in government, the real subject of dispute was far
from being solved.

As soon as he was named provisional executive General Urquiza adopted
measures looking to the adoption of a constitution. The governors of the
various provinces met and it was agreed to call a Congress in which each
province should have an equal vote. Buenos Aires alone protested, and to
avoid the predominance of that province the session was called to meet
in Santa Fé. The legislature of Buenos Aires refused to assent to this
arrangement. The city rose in revolt and sent an army to attack Santa
Fé, while the Congress was holding its sessions. By this action Buenos
Aires practically declared her independence of the other provinces, but
never asked recognition of foreign governments as an independent state.
Although the rest of the confederation never took any steps to force a
union, they knew that it would never do to permit Buenos Aires to remain
independent with its control of the La Plata and its tributaries, which
furnished the only natural communication with the interior. It was the
pacific policy of Urquiza alone that prevented more serious trouble at
this time. He refused to become another Rosas.

On the 1st of May, 1853, a constitution was adopted which was
substantially copied after that of the United States, and this
constitution, with few amendments, remains the fundamental law of
Argentina to-day. The Paraná River was declared free to all the world,
and the city of Paraná was selected as the temporary capital, with the
city of Buenos Aires as permanent capital when that province should
join the union. General José Justo Urquiza was elected the first
constitutional president. Under his rule the provinces greatly prospered.
The connection of some of the border provinces was very slight at first,
but they gradually began to see the benefits of a closer union. The
relations between Buenos Aires and the confederation became so strained
in 1859 that the former marched an army against Urquiza. The President
defeated them and, advancing upon the metropolis, compelled them to
accept the constitution and join the confederation. This was about the
last national service of President Urquiza, as his term expired in 1860.
For many years after that he remained governor of Entre Rios, and his
influence was paramount in that section between the Paraná and Uruguay
Rivers. During a revolt against his authority in 1870, the aged general
and ex-President was cruelly assassinated in his own house by some
followers of the opposing leader.

The successor of Urquiza was Dr. Santiago Derqui. Trouble soon arose in
the new government over the intervention of the federal government in
the province of San Juan, because of the assassination of the governor.
His successor, who had been selected by the people, was captured by
the government troops and shot. Buenos Aires protested at this summary
execution, and the Congress resented their protest by refusing admittance
to its members. The forces of Buenos Aires under the command of General
Mitre defeated the federal army in the battle of Pavon, and Derqui was
thus deposed after a brief rule, being compelled to flee from the country.

General Bartolomé Mitre, one of the most illustrious men of Argentina,
was born in the city of Buenos Aires, on the 26th of June, 1821. His
early education was received in his home city, but later he was sent
to Montevideo. It was in this city that he imbibed revolutionary
doctrines, and took up arms in 1838, in one of the disturbances so
numerous in that country. A few years later, when just of legal age,
he joined an expedition against Rosas, the dictator. The failure of
this expedition caused Mitre to return to Montevideo and turn his fight
against that usurper through the columns of the newspapers, a calling
which he followed during a large part of his life. At the early age
of twenty-three he headed another attack against the tyrant, and was
promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Disagreements with the
authorities caused the young officer to leave Montevideo, and he went to
the province of Corrientes, where he took part in several engagements
against Rosas. The failure of this enterprise caused him to flee to
Bolivia, where he spent a number of years in newspaper work and as
teacher in the military college. His career also led him to Peru and
Chile, in each of which countries he joined in the political struggles,
always in behalf of public liberties and generally opposed to the
existing governments. His conduct in those countries led him to a number
of persecutions, so that he fled from one country to another, generally
being received by the people as the champion of modern political ideas.
He returned again to Montevideo, where he united with Urquiza, who was
at that time a leader of the movement toward liberty from political
dictators. He soon separated from that leader, however, becoming an
active opponent of his, and to that end founded a newspaper in that city,
called _Los Debates_.

In the revolution of 1852, Mitre entered the service of the National
Guard, and this movement being successful he was appointed to a
cabinet position, the first political office he had held in his own
country. This government did not last long, and Mitre was soon found
in the military service again. For a while he edited _El Nacional_,
and took a part in the forming of a new constitution. For a number
of years his time was alternated between military service, literary
work, editorial services and political office. In 1860 he was elected
governor of the province of Buenos Aires, and in 1862, by the victory of
Pavon, General Mitre succeeded to the presidency of the republic. The
accession of this high-minded patriot ended the period of uncertainty in
Argentina. Although he reached his high position as the representative
of victorious Buenos Aires, he immediately set himself to work to
remodel and strengthen the federation, a task for which he had long
prepared himself. Buenos Aires became the seat of government once more.
The autonomy of the provinces was not interfered with, but power and
population naturally gravitated toward that city. From that time the
tendency has constantly been toward strengthening the bonds of cohesion.
President Mitre also sought to work out a more democratic form of
government, as preventative of the uprisings which were so numerous
and distracting. This work, however, was seriously interrupted by the
Paraguayan war, in which he acted as Commander-General of the allied
forces from 1865 to 1868. The aggressive and ambitious policy of General
Lopez, the dictator of that country, united Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina
in an attempt to throttle his pretensions. It was only accomplished after
a bloody war of several years, and the killing or disabling of almost
every man in Paraguay capable of bearing arms. In 1868 President Mitre’s
term of office ended, and he was presented by the people with a fine
home in the capital. After his retirement he served as senator for that
province, in which he did good service for his country. He did effective
work as editor of _La Nacion_, a journal which he owned, and through
which he propounded his political ideas. At last ripe in years, full of
honours and with the universal appreciation of his fellow countrymen he
departed from this life in 1906.

During the term of President Mitre Argentina made great strides in
material prosperity and industrial development. The Paraguayan war
furnished a splendid market for the produce of the country, for the
expense of the war was mostly borne by Brazil. When the election was held
in that year Dr. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a native of the province of
San Juan, was chosen. This election was held without interference from
any source and the candidate himself was in Washington as his country’s
representative at that time. It was a wise selection, for even the
jealous Porteños could find little fault with the policy and attitude of
the new President. His most bitter opponents were compelled to admit that
upright dealing and a desire to promote the best interests of Argentina
characterized his administration. He is best remembered for the work
done in behalf of education, and for that reason has been referred to
as the “school-teacher President.” He was a great admirer of President
Lincoln and wrote a biography in Spanish of our martyred president.
One of his books closes with these words: “Without instruction liberty
is impossible;” and these words seem to have been the expression of his
creed. Comparative peace reigned, and prosperity again made strides
in spite of the weight of the heavy debt incurred by the Paraguayan
war. An epidemic of yellow fever at this time is also memorable, as it
is said to have caused the death of twenty-four thousand persons in
Buenos Aires within six months. Notwithstanding all these hindrances to
prosperity, the termination of President Sarmiento’s term in 1874 found
great advances made in the republic. Education had progressed, railways
had been extended, and the administration of justice had been improved.
Immigration on a large scale had been turned toward Argentina. Perhaps
the greatest criticism that can be offered is that his administration
was practically the beginning of the policy of national and commercial
extravagance which finally ended in financial disaster. Sarmiento died in
1888, at the age of seventy-seven.

The question of a successor to Sarmiento again aroused the old
jealousies. At that time Argentina was a loosely-joined organization
of fourteen states, each enjoying sovereign rights and each jealous of
the national government. Both Mitre and Sarmiento had endeavoured to
unite the provinces more closely, but with little effect. The difficulty
of communication was perhaps detrimental to consolidation. Sarmiento
absolutely refused to be drawn into the controversy or take any part in
the selection of his successor. The provincials, however, won again when
Dr. Nicolás Avellaneda, a native of Tucuman, was chosen. This election
almost resulted in a serious revolution. After his inauguration, and in
order to intimidate the Porteños, the President made an ostentatious
parade of military strength. A meeting of prominent citizens was held,
and a discussion as to the best means of combating the President
followed. It was decided to found the Tiro Nacional, an organization
ostensibly formed for rifle shooting, but in reality a volunteer military
organization. The enthusiasm of the young men for this organization was
unbounded, and every Sunday thousands attended the parade grounds to
receive instruction. It was not long until the Tiro Nacional aroused the
suspicion of the President and his advisors. General Mitre and other
officers in the army, who were active in the Tiro, were summoned and told
that their further connection with that organization would subject them
to the charge of treason. As an answer to this they immediately resigned
their commissions. Conflicts between national troops and members of the
Tiro were narrowly averted in several instances. A compromise was finally
effected which temporarily averted hostilities, as public attention was
again centred upon a successor.

[Illustration: TYPICAL WAGONS OF THE PAMPAS]

General Bartolomé Mitre might have been chosen again, but he refused to
become a candidate. There was no lack of willing candidates, however,
but it brought to the front one of the strongest men that Argentina has
yet known, General Julio Roca. General Roca, like his predecessor, was
a native of Tucuman. He had distinguished himself in campaigns against
turbulent Indians, and also in command of troops in several revolutionary
outbreaks. He had shown great skill and tact in organization. One of his
campaigns had opened up the vast region of Patagonia to civilization. As
a result of his victory, this land, which had hitherto been considered as
a barren waste, was added to the national domain and given territorial
government in order to avoid state jealousies. This caused General Roca
to be called a national benefactor by his friends. Foreseeing that a
call to arms would come sooner or later General Roca applied himself to
strengthening the army, while his followers fought his political battles.
For the first time the nationalists openly and strenuously advocated the
confiscation of the city of Buenos Aires as the federal capital. To this
Roca gave his adherence, and he became the candidate of the powerful
Cordoba “League,” which was a political organization of unusual strength.

Each side now began to prepare for the impending conflict, although for
months these strained relations continued. The Porteños were hampered
by a lack of arms and ammunition. In June, 1880, an open rupture
occurred in the capital between the presidential escort and a group
of citizens. The incident was reported as an attempt upon the life of
President Avellaneda. The President fled the city and joined the main
body of federal troops a few miles out. General Roca commanded these
troops, which numbered about eight thousand, and some gunboats. The
city was unfortified, but the Porteños began to throw up entrenchments
and had about fifteen thousand men under arms. These troops, however,
lacked military training, while the government forces had seen service
in several minor campaigns. Wrangling, vacillation and jealousy all
weakened the power of the Porteños. Each side delayed the conflict which
all felt to be inevitable. There were minor skirmishes, but it was not
until July that a serious encounter took place, on the 20th of that
month. Roca decided to make an attack and placed his forces accordingly.
Several points of assault were arranged. The battle began very early on
the morning of that date with picket skirmishing. The defence stubbornly
resisted the advance and made a valorous fight. The losses on both sides
were severe; especially was this true of the Porteños, who also began to
be distressed because of lack of ammunition. They had no reserve stores
on which to fall back. On the second day the fighting was renewed with
odds in favour of the government. The national troops finally forced
their way over the Barracas Bridge into the city. The total casualties
had been not less than five thousand, with the greatest loss among the
city’s defenders. Both sides rested for a day, the 22nd. An armistice
was declared and negotiations opened. The national government, knowing
the lack of ammunition, imposed onerous conditions. Participators in the
revolt, however, were not to be punished, but should be denied official
employment. When Congress met a few months later it ratified the election
of General Roca as President. The city of Buenos Aires was proclaimed a
federal district and the national capital. Thus the principal cause of
friction between the provinces was forcibly removed. This was practically
the last step in the process of consolidation which had been going on.
This great city is now one of the strongest ties binding together the
different provinces, as each one has a sense of joint ownership in and
pride of their beautiful capital.

Centralization received a fresh impetus with the ascendency of President
Roca. The provinces, however, got more than they had bargained for.
They had succeeded in humiliating the province of Buenos Aires, but a
strong central government was not one of their desires. Roca, hitherto
an unknown political quantity, set himself to work to bring order out of
chaos, and to develop a national spirit; to teach the people of all the
provinces that first of all they were Argentinians. He surprised both
his opponents and supporters; the first by his fairness, and the latter
by the fact that they could not dictate to him. He did not act hastily
but studied the situation. He had visited nearly every section of the
country and knew the immense undeveloped resources of the country. To
populate these lands and bring them under contribution to civilization
was his great aim. Within a year his power was absolute, but he began no
repressive measures. He never allowed militarism to become obnoxious. As
a result Argentina entered upon an era of development and evolution that
was simply marvellous. A reckless optimism ruled the country. Railway
extension on a broader scale began; immigration agencies were opened up
in Europe, government lands were sold at low rates. Public works were
inaugurated, on a scale hitherto unprecedented, new docks were built in
Buenos Aires and adequate drainage undertaken. European money lenders
offered money for any enterprise. The petty jealousies were restrained
and foreign capital encouraged. With all the skill and diplomacy of
a shrewd ruler a discontented element still remained, those who were
“out.” In Santa Fé and Entre Rios disturbances arose which were quickly
quelled, and in Buenos Aires further trouble threatened. This latter
was due to the national interference in elections. The vanity of the
Porteños was somewhat appeased by the efforts they made to beautify La
Plata, their new capital, which was intended to rival the older city in
magnificence and importance.

When the question of a successor became necessary Roca declared he would
maintain absolute neutrality. Such a thing was almost unheard of in South
America, and the people placed little credence in it. Among the several
candidates was his brother-in-law, Miguel Juarez Celman. This man stood
before the country in the guise of the official candidate. If Roca did
nothing to assist, he did nothing to hinder Celman’s selection. When the
election arrived there was practically no contest, and Celman was chosen
almost unanimously. At the election in March electors equal to twice the
number of representatives in Congress are elected, who meet on June 12th
and choose a president and vice-president.

Celman was an unfortunate choice. As governor of Cordoba he had shown
no administrative ability, nor later in Congress. There was little to
recommend him and he had been chosen by the Cordoba “Clique,” because of
his pliancy. The almost four years of his administration are memorable
for reckless private and public borrowing. Flattery and adulation turned
the head of the new President. Many thought that Roca would be the power
behind the throne, but events disproved that idea. With his head turned
by the servility shown him, Celman soon chafed at any restraint. He broke
loose from all control, and even Roca soon cooled. Political adventurers
began to fill the offices and an era of carpet-bagging followed.
Elections for senators and deputies were openly manipulated. Bribery and
corruption were everywhere apparent. Concessions and monopolies were
scattered broadcast. A healthy activity was followed by a mad rush of
speculation. The provincial governments followed suit. The corruption
of former days sunk into insignificance beside the orgy of this
administration. Banks of issue were established throughout the republic,
whose notes were guaranteed by national bonds. The paper circulation
was almost quadrupled and the premium on gold rose. As the banks were
obliged to purchase bonds of the government, this gave it a ready supply
of money. Soon this was squandered and the national government found
itself obligated for one hundred and ninety-six million dollars on these
guarantees.

The conservative element looked on this extravagance with dismay, and
rumblings of discontent were heard throughout the republic, although many
did not seem to have any apprehensions until the final crash came. The
public continued to speculate on the scrip issued. Meetings were held
by these malcontents, but the discontented centres were too far apart.
A central league was formed which was called the “Union Civica,” in
which a number of notable names were included, men who were actuated by
purely patriotic motives. This was in 1887, just a year after Celman’s
inauguration. Meetings were held, and literature freely distributed
calling upon the people to protect themselves against the dangers
threatened by this administration. During the two years following its
organization the Union Civica spread its propaganda extensively. The
headquarters were maintained in Buenos Aires, but local clubs were formed
in nearly every town and village throughout the country. Adhesion was
publicly given to the tenets of the Union Civica in many provinces, for
public feeling was greatly aroused.

In 1889 the beginning of the crisis came, and by the end of that year the
organizers felt they could count on the moral support of the majority of
the people. The government did not sleep during this time. Meetings were
broken up, newspapers were censored and editors threatened. Terrorism,
however, did not check the growth of the anti-administration feeling.
The President’s action with the Mortgage Banks, which were practically
forced to loan money on worthless securities to political favourites,
was the last straw. Celman, although aware of the tremendous opposition,
relied upon the strength of his army. The foreign colonies protested,
and their influence was strong as they owned all the public utilities.
Congress passed a resolution demanding his resignation. Force did not
avail with public sentiment so aroused. An uprising was finally advocated
as the only recourse, although hitherto the Union had acted within its
constitutional rights. The army and navy were sounded and considerable
encouragement was received. The date for the revolt was finally set for
the 26th of July, 1890, and the Plaza Lavalle as the place. This plaza
was barricaded and a force of fifteen hundred armed men occupied it.
The government troops rendezvoused on the Plaza Libertad, a few hundred
yards away. Sharpshooters were placed on the housetops to pick off the
insurgents, but they were unable to dislodge them. Some vessels of the
fleet attempted to bombard the government buildings, but their shells
fell wide of their mark. Reinforcements of the government, as well as
a shortage of ammunition, prevented the success of the revolutionary
forces. An armistice was arranged and negotiations opened up for a
settlement. The insurgents demanded forgiveness of themselves and the
resignation of the President, and this was agreed to. His resignation
caused scenes of the wildest excitement, and not until then was the real
magnitude of the disaffection known. Public holidays were observed for
three days. In no quarter was a good word to be said for the defeated
President or his administration, and he disappeared from view almost
as completely as if the earth had engulfed him. In Europe the keenest
pleasure was shown, as the downfall of the President was looked upon
as evidence that Argentina would thereafter insist upon honesty in the
conduct of its public officials.

Dr. Carlos Pellegrini, the Vice-President, succeeded to the office of
chief magistrate. The new President had already acquired a somewhat
varied experience in public affairs. The name signifies his Italian
descent, but his mother was an Englishwoman of distinguished family, and
he had thus inherited some sturdy Anglo-Saxon qualities. He had many
friends, but there were skeptics also, because he had not protested
against Celman’s policy. No one doubted his ability. His first duty
was to organize a cabinet that would conciliate the various factions,
but that was no easy task. He succeeded in getting former-President
Roca to accept the portfolio of Minister of the Interior, and the other
appointments were then easily and successfully filled. The new cabinet
was a fortunate combination of the diverse political elements. Every one
seemed fairly well satisfied, except the Cordoba “Clique.”

An empty treasury and a legacy of debts of the Celman administration
soon made trouble for the new President and his cabinet. Concessions
which contained money guarantees had been scattered broadcast, and
these obligations were being pressed. The Congress still contained the
corrupt members who had been elected through the official influence of
Celman. Things drifted from bad to worse, and the general inflation of
public and commercial enterprises brought about an economic and financial
crisis. The government had no funds with which to meet even the ordinary
expenses, let alone the contractual obligations, and national bankruptcy
was threatened. The resources had all been mortgaged. As a makeshift
the President decided to issue inconvertible notes, and an issue of
sixty millions was legalized. This gave temporary relief only and
paved the way for greater complications in the future, as the currency
rapidly depreciated. Foreign creditors became pressing. The government
finally defaulted in its obligations. The Banco Nacional failed, and
the resources of all the banks were taxed to the uttermost. Pellegrini,
knowing that his tenure was only temporary, became discouraged, and no
permanent solution was attempted by him. No human foresight could devise
measures that would immediately bring prosperity, and the people were
impatient. Dr. Pellegrini was obliged to wait until later years before
his work was really appreciated. He served as national senator in after
years, and passed away in 1906, mourned by the nation.

A large following began to hail General Bartolomé Mitre as the only
saviour, and he finally, but with reluctance, consented to be a
candidate. Another element wanted Roca, but neither of these men aspired
to the presidency. The two held a conference and decided that neither
would be a candidate, if a non-party candidate would be selected. Dr.
Luis Saenz Peña, who had been a judge of the Supreme Court for many
years, was chosen as this candidate, and was elected practically without
opposition, and with the active support of Pellegrini, who imprisoned
some of the opposition. Saenz Peña was sixty-eight years of age, and
it was thought that his high character and broad experience of men and
matters would be just the thing for the country. He had no part in the
means taken to exile the opposition leaders and prevent a free election.
In fact it is doubtful if he had any real desire for the position.

Thus it was that on the 12th of October, 1892, Dr. Saenz Peña took
the oath of office as President, and Dr. Pellegrini retired almost
unnoticed. This was the first instance where a President had assumed the
office of executive without a party behind him. President Peña had no
political following upon whom he could depend for support. His idea was
to administer public affairs for the general good, without reference to
political exigencies. Unforeseen obstacles soon arose, for the Senators
and Deputies were opportunists and looking for personal advantage. The
first cabinet resigned after a few stormy months. His thirty years’
service on the bench had unfitted him to grasp political exigencies. He
refused to use his official prerogatives to influence Congress, although
the latter constantly threw obstacles in his path. Disturbances in
several provinces because of local conditions stirred up the feeling of
revolt and a revolution was narrowly averted. The opposition endeavoured
to make it a general uprising but did not succeed. Although Saenz Peña
had allied himself with those opposed to Roca, that general took the
field against the revolutionists in Rosario and Santa Fé and restored
order, or at least a semblance of it. The President was determined to
effect economies in national expenditures, but this was opposed by
Congress. The scene of contest was transferred to Congress and the
press. When Congress met in June, 1894, the relations between the two
departments were strained very much. The President was too conscientious
in his efforts to be free to initiate reforms to use his patronage in
order to influence the legislators. Congress did nothing from month to
month and neglected to pass the necessary appropriation bills. Taxes had
been increased to pay the obligations of the government, so that the
people were rebelling and war with Chile began to seem imminent. Congress
refused to grant the request of the President for money and supplies.
A ministerial crisis arose, and Dr. Peña found great difficulty in the
formation of a new cabinet. The friction became more and more intense,
until the President presented his resignation early in 1895, and the
tension was relieved. He never again appeared in public life.

Dr. José Uriburu, who succeeded to the presidency, had been in diplomatic
positions for many years. He was also unacquainted with political
methods, for he had spent much of his life in foreign countries. Knowing
that a repetition of the Peña failure would bring disaster to the nation
former-Presidents Roca and Pellegrini decided to support Uriburu with
all their resources. This assured the new President a working majority
in Congress. Hardly had he assumed office before complications with
Chile over the boundary threatened almost immediate war. Excitement
became intense, and a large credit was voted by Congress for defence. The
question was finally submitted to arbitration and war averted. President
Cleveland also decided a dispute with Brazil over the limitations of
Misiones adverse to Argentina, but this award was quietly accepted by the
government. A default in the subsidy of the railways also caused trouble.
The President asked for fifty millions of dollars in bonds to compound
with the companies, and this was finally authorized. The support of Roca
and Pellegrini during the three years and nine months of Uriburu’s term
carried it safely through a trying period, and much was accomplished in
restoring the finances to a better footing.

As the election of 1898 drew near public sentiment seemed to concentrate
on former-President Roca as the man to steer the ship of state, and he
was elected practically without opposition. His former administration
had been successful; he was at the head of the only really national
party in the republic; he seemed to have the qualities of a leader
who could rally around him the discordant political elements into
which Argentina was divided. In October, 1898, Dr. Roca assumed office
again, just eighteen years after he had first been placed in control of
Argentine affairs. During his second term the boundary question with
Chile was settled by W. J. Buchanan, the United States minister, as
arbitrator, although a rupture in the negotiations was narrowly averted
on several occasions. President Roca cleverly avoided the rupture,
although it was at times difficult because of the excited state of public
opinion. He scathingly rebuked the administration of justice in one of
his messages to Congress, and this led to reform and the dismissal of
several judges. A meeting with President Errazuiz of Chile was arranged,
and this took place at Punta Arenas. On the way the President visited
several of the coast settlements in Patagonia. Hitherto these southern
territories had been neglected, but this visit brought them prominently
into notice. President Roca also visited President Campos Salles, of
Brazil, and received a return visit from that official. No revolutionary
disturbances arose during this second term, but several of the provinces
experienced trouble, and in Buenos Aires the national government was
obliged to take charge of the provincial administration because of
financial irresponsibility. Many reforms in the finances of the country
were accomplished. The value of the dollar rose to forty cents and the
beginning of a gold reserve was made. Dr. Roca deserves great credit
for the work of his administration, and he still lives to enjoy the
confidence and good will of his fellow citizens.

At the meeting of the electoral college on the 12th of June, 1904, Dr.
Manuel Quintana was chosen President. Several prominent men, including
former-Presidents Pellegrini and Uriburu, were candidates to succeed
President Roca, but a new man was selected. President Quintana came of
a distinguished family, and was a native of Buenos Aires. By profession
he was a lawyer, and had been the legal advisor of many corporations,
including several of the railways, so that his election was eminently
satisfactory to the foreign interests. When elected he was sixty-eight
years of age and had been active in politics for many years, but his
record had been clear. The administration of President Quintana was
marked by a steady advance in the financial standing of Argentina. Peace
reigned, and there was only one slight revolution in February, 1905.
At that time revolts broke out simultaneously at Rosario, Bahia Blanca
and Mendoza among some government troops, but this disturbance was soon
quelled. The greatest damage was inflicted in the last named city,
where the revolutionists turned their cannon on the Governor’s Palace
and almost reduced it to ruins. Some encounters also took place in the
streets of Buenos Aires. The revolution came to an abrupt end, however,
after a few days, but not before a number had lost their lives. Several
of the conspirators were sentenced to short terms in prison, while a
larger number escaped across the border into Chile. This was a radical
departure from the former custom of granting general amnesty to all who
took part in revolutions against the government.

In 1906 President Quintana died and the office fell to Dr. José Figueroa
Alcorta, who had been elected with him as Vice-President. President
Figueroa was only forty-four years of age at the time of his inauguration
and in the very prime of life. He was a native of Cordoba, and had been
a National Senator from that state. He proved himself to be well fitted
for the duties of that high office, and safely guided the destinies of
the country without serious friction. He himself was a hard worker, and
the executive could be found at work in his office early and late. He
cared little for display or the social features of the position, and was
a much more difficult man to meet than the average President of South
America. This administration is too recent to generalize; but suffice it
to say that both external and comparative internal peace reigned, and the
development of the country and its resources steadily progressed.

In the campaign of 1910 there were two active candidates, Dr. Udaondo and
Dr. Roque Saenz Peña, son of the former President of the same name. Many
meetings were held by the followers of the former, the billboards were
plastered with statements and appeals to the voters, but there was not at
any time a question as to who had the “call.” The official party was well
organized and the log-rolling was quietly conducted. When the electors
met the vote was almost unanimous for Dr. Saenz Peña. The newly-elected
President, who assumed office on the 12th of October, entered upon a
political career early in life. His first office was deputy in the state
legislature of Buenos Aires. Later he became Minister of Foreign Affairs
under President Celman. Following the fall of that man, and the scandals
which were unearthed, he retired from public life for several years.
Since that time he has served in several diplomatic positions, and was a
member of the Pan-American Conference held in Washington. At the time of
his election he was minister Plenipotentiary to the governments of Italy
and Switzerland. President Saenz Peña assumes his office with the good
will of the foreign colony, and promises to give Argentina a peaceful
and progressive administration. His term of office will not expire until
1916.



CHAPTER XVII

TRADE CONDITIONS IN SOUTH AMERICA


Walking along the extensive docks at Buenos Aires, and going through the
immense warehouses which extended one after another along those docks,
I was impressed with the small proportion of the immense traffic coming
into this port that belonged to the United States. It was an object
lesson far more impressive than the perusal of statistics. Section after
section would be visited without a single package bearing the name of one
of our manufacturers, while great boxes and bales with “Hamburg” stamped
upon them, French boxes of both wet and dry goods, labelled “fragile,”
and English shipments were piled clear up to the ceiling. The question
“why is this condition?” arose in my mind, and set me upon inquiry.
Are North American manufactures not adapted to the needs of our fellow
Americans? Can it be that our goods are not fully known or appreciated
beneath the Southern Cross?

It was just at this time that the naval commission of Argentina awarded
the contract for the two battleships to United States builders, after
a fierce competition from the ship-building firms of five nations, and
one in which even the diplomatic representatives of more than one nation
became involved. This act brought out a great deal of favourable comment
upon the United States from the leading journals of Buenos Aires. A
reporter of _La Prensa_, perhaps the most influential daily in that
republic, came to interview me, and I took the occasion to say that
the United States had entered upon an era of commercial conquest, and
hereafter must be reckoned with. A number of Argentinians whom I met
afterwards commented on the subject, and everywhere the encouraging words
were heard: “We will welcome you; indeed we have wondered why it was not
done long ago.” This convinces me that no prejudice exists among the
Latin-Americans against their fellow Americans of North America.

It may be that the manufacturers of the United States have been a
little ignorant of conditions in South America. A little ignorance is
excusable. As the United States has not been a colonizing nation, having
undeveloped lands and resources at home for its surplus population,
there has not been the intercourse between North and South America
that there has been between South America and Europe. But there is one
characteristic which I noticed everywhere and greatly admired, and
that is that South Americans of every country are satisfied only with
the “best.” The “just as good” argument does not satisfy. When once
convinced that the manufacturer of the United States is putting out a
better article, it will be bought. The manufacturer of that country has
oftentimes been at a disadvantage because the importing houses are mostly
of European nationality, and for that reason prejudicially inclined
towards their fellow-countrymen. North American-made goods have forged
ahead simply and solely upon their own intrinsic merit.

“All of our printing machinery is of North American make, as is almost
everything in the establishment, except the type,” said the manager
of _La Prensa_, as he courteously and with justifiable pride showed
me through their fine office building with its humanitarian and
sociological features. “We have found those goods to be the best.
Furthermore, our presses, as you will see, are the North American
make; and not from the branch factory in England.” And so I found as
we went through these offices, being taken from one floor to another
on an American elevator, that the “copy” was being written up on
typewriters, set up on linotype machines, and printed upon presses, all
of United States manufacture; the checks to the reporters were signed by
fountain-pens and the cash received over the counters was rung up on cash
registers from the same land.

“Where do you purchase your paper?”

He answered: “We buy some of it in the United States but most of it in
Germany. We prefer that made in North America, but it is so carelessly
packed that we always figure on a ten per cent. loss. The German
manufacturers carefully surround the rolls with boards to prevent the
paper from damage, while the North American paper is simply wrapped with
a little heavier paper, which tears or becomes water soaked, and damage
results. A short time ago we returned nearly nine hundred bales to the
manufacturers because of the damaged condition in which it was received.”

[Illustration: ROLLS OF PAPER FROM GERMANY]

“How does American machinery sell?” I asked of an importing merchant in
Buenos Aires, who represented a few American manufacturers.

“Very well indeed, for the people generally like them. But there is one
thing your North American manufacturers must learn, and that is to be
very careful in putting every necessary part in the shipment. Several
times we have received engines, or other complicated machinery, and when
it was put together some part would be missing. As it was impossible to
get that part in less than three or four months, the customer lost a
season’s business, and his friends bought English machinery because there
was no danger of that same trouble.”

It would be possible to relate numerous other instances of personal
experiences, all of which would be of similar tenor to those herewith
given. It is humiliating to an American to travel throughout the length
and breadth of South America and see the trade which legitimately
belongs to us slipping away to Europe, when some of our own factories in
that line are idle because of lack of orders. It leads one to ask the
questions: “What is the matter with the American business man? What is
the matter with the American manufacturer?”

The South American field is an extensive one, and it is a discriminating
one. The idea that anything is good enough for that continent has been
exploded. Buenos Aires, for instance, is a live, hustling up-to-date
metropolis. The people have money and they spend it freely. What they buy
they want of the very best, and nothing is too good for them. It might
also be added that nothing is too expensive for them, as they are used to
paying high prices, and money seems to be of little moment when once the
desire for the article exists. So it is not a cheap or a low-price market
that awaits the American merchant.

Argentina is essentially British in her sympathies. That is but natural,
for England owns her railroads, public improvements and government
bonds. Almost two billion dollars of British gold is invested in that
republic, and perhaps fifty thousand of her subjects dwell there. There
is not a boat that sails for Buenos Aires from an English port which
does not carry some young English boys to that city, who expect to enter
commercial life there. It is only natural that this should create a
preference for English-made goods, for the Englishman always carries his
atmosphere with him as well as his ideas of taste and style. And yet
German houses have aggressively entered this field in the past decade and
have made terrific inroads on English trade. The Germans have studied the
markets; they aim to cater to its demands; they grant the terms asked by
the merchants, and do anything to secure the trade—and they generally get
it.

One noticeable feature of the German commercial invasion is its
imitation, and a desire to furnish “similar” articles at a cheaper price.
As a prominent man told me: “Their goods are worth no more than you pay
for them, and they are bound to lose out in the long run.” It is this
commercial rivalry that has caused the intense feeling between Germany
and England, for the German manufacturer has been somewhat unscrupulous
in his methods. If a manufacturer in the United States or England has
succeeded in evolving some new and valuable contrivance, it will not
be long until a German imitation will be on the market, and bearing an
English name. It is well known that the North American manufacturers
have evolved the best and practically only successful typewriters, cash
registers and computing machines. Within the last year or two, however,
German imitations have appeared in all markets. The machines in some
instances have such a wholly misleading name as “Columbia,” showing
the plain intention of deception. In these lines their methods have
had little effect. One can hardly go into an office anywhere in South
America without seeing one or more typewriters with familiar labels, for
a half dozen or more manufacturers are working in that field, and nearly
every store has from one to a half dozen cash registers of one or two
North American makes. “We are bringing them in by the shipload,” said an
agent in Buenos Aires, who handled both lines, and there was not much
exaggeration in the statement.

It is in the practical and useful things that the genius of the United
States has been most manifest. A great undeveloped country rich in
natural resources stirred the inventive genius of the people, and the
result has been a continual increase in time-saving and labour-saving
appliances of all kinds. These same articles are equally adapted to
conditions all over South America. In some places these articles are
known and appreciated; in others they are still unknown. No manufacturers
have evolved farming machinery of all kinds so well adapted to conditions
in South America as those of the United States.

American manufacturers look with longing eyes towards the Orient as a
promising field for expansion. It will be many years before China, for
instance, will be a great importer of manufactured goods, because of the
extreme poverty of the people and the consequent low purchasing power
of the masses. The imports of that country, with its teeming population
of four hundred millions, for the past year were about $333,000,000,
an average of less than one dollar per capita. It will be many years
before that percentage will greatly increase, because the rise in the
standard of wages will be very slow owing to the abundance of labourers.
Furthermore, as soon as trade has once been established, the low wages
will induce manufacturers to establish factories on Chinese soil so that
the cost of production will be decreased. Japan is, and will always be,
a formidable competitor in the Orient, because of her ingenuity and
similarly low wage scale.

South America, on the other hand, is not and will not be for a long time,
if ever, a manufacturing country. Brazil has encouraged some lines of
manufactures, because of her extensive water power, but still is and will
ever remain an importing nation. Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have
little available water power and scarcely any coal. Chile, Peru and all
the other republics of South America remain importing nations. In none of
these countries, except Chile, has coal been found in large quantities,
and millions upon millions of tons are imported each year from Europe and
Australia. The matter of fuel alone will always deter manufacturing in
South America.

Let us glance for a moment at the purchasing power of these republics.
Argentina, although not so populous as the immense republic of Brazil,
easily stands at the head of the list. During the year 1909 the total
foreign trade of the Argentine Republic was valued at $700,106,623, of
which $302,756,095 was imports. This was an average of almost $108.00
for each man, woman and child in the nation, and an importation of more
than $46.00 per capita. Thus this one republic, with a population of
less than seven million, imports almost as much as China with more than
fifty times the population. In the last decade the imports of Argentina
have increased one hundred and fifty-four per cent., an increase exceeded
only by Canada. She now ranks thirteenth in total imports and sixth in
per capita imports. Those nations, such as England and Holland, which
exceed in per capita imports, are large importers of raw materials and
not manufactured goods, as is the case with Argentina. Furthermore, the
population of Argentina is increasing rapidly, both by natural increase
and immigration. There are no idle men in the country, as every able
bodied man seems to be able to secure employment. Wages are about as high
as in the United States, and the cost of living higher. The people spend
their money freely, and the importing houses do an immense business which
is increasing each year.

Brazil will one day be one of the great powers of the world, for she
contains within her borders the greatest amount of undeveloped, fertile
land in the world. The United States, exclusive of Alaska and the island
possessions, could be set inside the territorial limits of Brazil, and
leave a state as large as Texas on the outside. The Brazilian government
estimates the population at a little more than twenty million, but
it would probably be better to place the number at eighteen million.
Brazil has fostered some lines of industry, especially the manufacture
of cotton goods, where water power is an invaluable asset, but most of
the goods are imported. The purchasing power of the people is not as
great as in Argentina, because there are several millions of negroes and
Indians included in the population. The total imports for the year 1909
were $179,690,125. This would be at the rate of ten dollars per capita,
or ten times that of China. In other words, the imports of Brazil, with
her eighteen million population, is equal to that of half the Chinese
Empire. If the coffee situation improves there will be a great increase
in Brazilian imports, for many improvements are withheld in the coffee
regions at the present time on that account.

Chile, that long, narrow strip of land, whose two hundred and ninety-one
thousand and five hundred square miles stretch over thirty-eight degrees
of latitude, is well worthy of consideration. In 1909 the imports of
this republic were $94,349,795. With a population of less than four
million, this makes a per capita importation of twenty-five dollars.
Peru, with a slightly greater population, but a larger number of Indians
who are not purchasers, imported in the same year about $25,000,000.
Uruguay ranks next to Argentina in imports in proportion to population.
Larger than New York and West Virginia combined, this republic, whose
physical characteristics and agricultural resources are very similar
to its neighbour across the La Plata, has a population of one million
one hundred thousand. It is a great stock country, and ninety-four
per cent. of its $37,000,000 exports for last year were hides, frozen
meat, jerked beef, meat-extracts and tallow. Its imports amounted to
$35,000,000 in round numbers, making the comparatively small republic
well worth consideration by the exporter. Venezuela imports will
average $10,000,000, Bolivia $16,000,000, Ecuador $7,000,000, Columbia
$12,000,000 and Paraguay about $4,000,000.

These figures are eloquent in themselves. They bespeak great
possibilities of trade among our South American neighbours. Of the total
imports of Argentina, during the year 1909, the United States sent
$43,068,829. For the last two years the percentage has shown a gradual
increase, as a few lines of American goods have been systematically
pushed. In percentage of increase over the preceding year the United
States is ahead of the other commercial nations. Specialties such as
typewriters, photographic cameras, firearms, elevators, phonographs,
toilet and medical articles, and petroleum products, have made their
market, but it is the larger competitive field that needs attention. In
this class are included motors of all kinds, electrical appliances, steel
in every form, railway and tramway equipment, and a thousand and one
things made by manufacturers of the United States, which are always equal
to and oftentimes superior to anything of their kind made elsewhere.

We purchase more than twice as much from Brazil as any other nation, more
than half the total, and sell that country less than half as much as
Great Britain and less than Germany. We sell more to Argentina than we
purchase from her, but Great Britain sells almost three times as much,
and our percentage is only fourteen per cent. of the whole, with Germany
still in the lead and France not far behind. We purchase nearly twice
as much from Chile as Germany, and more than twice as much as Great
Britain, and yet the latter country sells Chile more than twice as much
as we do and Germany almost half as much again. And so the figures might
be given for the other countries, which would show about the same ratios,
and which make the American travelling through those countries lose some
of his egotism.

Here are a few of the obstacles encountered: the leading banks are either
British, German or Italian; the importing merchants are of the same
nationality, and there is quicker transportation because of the numerous
steamship lines running to European ports, although there are good
steamers running direct from New York to the ports on the east coast. And
the following are a few of the remedies suggested: an American bank would
greatly facilitate business, as it would aid in exchange and the handling
of credits; American manufacturers should study the markets and send
salesmen who understand the languages, people and customs; great care
in packing goods for South America should be exercised; fourthly, and
lastly, establish independent houses with hustling Americans in charge,
and not trust to foreign representatives who have a natural predilection
for things made in their own land. The shipping question will solve
itself, for boats will be run whenever business demands them. A little
attention to these principles and suggestions will help in solving the
question of American trade in South America. They are Americans, also,
and pride themselves on that fact. They rather resent our assumption
of the name “Americans,” and insist that we should use the term “North
Americans.” They are the “South Americans.” Then, as they say, as we are
all “Americans,” let the cry be “America for the Americans.”



CHAPTER XVIII

A PROMISING REPUBLIC


Argentina has just celebrated the first centennial of her independence
from Spanish domination. On the 25th of May, 1910, there was opened in
the city of Buenos Aires an exposition that continued for six months.
It was undoubtedly the greatest exposition ever held in the southern
hemisphere, just as Buenos Aires is the largest city in that half of
the globe. For almost a year active preparations had been going on for
this celebration. The United States honoured the occasion by sending
five warships for the opening, and appointing a special commission to
represent the government in an official capacity.

The exposition really consisted of five separate exhibitions, which were
located in different parts of the city and were practically independent
of each other. These were the International Exhibition of Railways and
Land Transports, the International Exhibition of Agriculture, the
International Exhibition of Hygiene, and the National Exhibitions of
Industry and Arts. The first mentioned was perhaps the most important,
for it consisted of a display of every kind of land transportation from
animal traction to steam and gasoline. There were special sections
devoted to each phase of railways, from the building of stations to the
equipment of the finest trains in the world, including all systems in
general use; other sections were devoted to tramways operated by the
various kinds of power, automobiles and all forms of motor cars, etc.
Nothing was overlooked to make this transportation exhibit the most
complete ever held in the world. Six sections in a choice location,
composing about fifteen thousand square yards, were assigned for United
States exhibitors. Great Britain, on the other hand, had asked for and
was given more than three times that amount of space. This condition
cannot be blamed upon the Argentine government, however, as the United
States commission secured all the space that they asked for, and the
commissioners found it difficult to fill their allotment.

The Exhibition of Hygiene was also important in this age when science
has made so much advance in overcoming the obstacles placed in the way
of health by nature. This included buildings devoted to hygienic sports,
hygiene of dress, naval and military hygiene, ventilation and calefaction
in general, sanitary work of cities, hospitals, surgical instruments,
and other allied subjects. The agricultural exhibition was particularly
devoted to live stock, and the other exhibitions are made clear by their
nomenclature.

Each one of the foreign colonies entered heartily into the exposition
spirit, and planned to present to the city some memorial in the way of a
permanent work of art, in commemoration of this first centennial of the
revolution which led to the independence of Argentina from Spanish rule
or misrule, a date which is as sacred to the Argentinians as the Fourth
of July with us. The British colony, which is one of the largest and
wealthiest and numbers probably twenty-five thousand, presented a clock
tower of artistic design. The German colony, of almost equal numbers,
began the erection of a monumental fountain on a great and imposing
terrace which was prepared by the city, and cost one hundred thousand
dollars. The Austro-Hungarian collectivity offered a meteorological
monument, similar to those found in the cities of Austria and Hungary,
which will be adorned with meteorological implements and appliances. The
Italians, who are the largest in number but not the wealthiest, built an
artistic monument in Italian marble of that great discoverer, Christopher
Columbus. Lastly, the three hundred Americans offered a statue of George
Washington, to whose work and example more than anything else the
liberty of all the Americas is due, and the government donated to them a
beautiful location on one of the principal plazas. Thus, by this tribute,
will another connecting link in the friendship between the two republics,
each of which is predominant on its own continent, be added.

[Illustration: CONGRESS PALACE AND THE PLAZA, BUENOS AIRES

Courtesy of the Bulletin of Pan-American Union]

All over the city of Buenos Aires men worked for months in the attempt to
beautify the city for the centennial exposition. Plazas were rearranged,
and new monuments erected in them; public buildings were redecorated and
overhauled; the new Supreme Court Palace was hurried in order to have
it ready for the sessions of the Pan-American Congress, which were held
there contemporaneous with the exposition; six solid blocks were bought
and condemned in order to give an approach to the new Congress Palace,
and thousands of men were employed for months in tearing down these
buildings, hauling away the débris, and preparing the ground for the
beautiful little park into which the space has been created.

The great problem with Argentina is the settlement of the immense tracts
of unoccupied land. These formerly belonged to the national government,
but they are now generally owned by the various provinces. As in
most Latin countries the government adopted the plan of subsidizing
the railroads, instead of giving them lands which would have been an
incentive to stimulate settlement along their tracks. The railways have
only recently grasped the advantages of encouraging such migration. A
large part of this land has already been secured by private owners.
The country is overrun with land companies, and every newspaper is
filled with advertisements of auction sales of lands and corner lots in
projected colonies, or in estates which comprise thousands of acres.
Nowhere will one find such elaborate advertisements of real estate as in
the newspapers of Buenos Aires, where they spread over page after page of
their bulky papers.

The government is making earnest effort to encourage immigration and
has been more successful than any other republic in South America. The
immigration department publishes prospectuses containing elaborate and
detailed information concerning public lands and guides for prospective
settlers. The efforts of the national government are ably seconded by
the provincial administrations, and they are jointly endeavouring to
attract a class that will adopt an agricultural life. Free transportation
is given desirable immigrants, and in many places money is advanced
to build a modest house. A number of European companies are also
establishing colonies and bringing in settlers. Some landowners who find
their estates too unwieldy are letting their land out to tenants on
shares. The immigrant receives far different treatment there from what
he does in the United States, where he is simply turned loose after the
inspectors have passed him. It has been charged in some instances that
the government does not always keep its promises with these incomers, but
I do not believe that can be at all general, for they are too anxious to
populate the country. The country has been pretty well surveyed and good
titles can generally be obtained. It will require all of the power of
the government to break the city habit and induce the people to establish
their homes in the _campo_. The lonesomeness and monotony of the
never-ending pampas, where distance seems limitless, will no doubt always
be an objection to them as places of habitation.

Statistics show that, during the year 1909, two hundred and thirty-two
thousand four hundred and fifty-eight immigrants entered Argentina.
Nearly every steamer landing at Buenos Aires has a few hundred of these
poor people down in the steerage quarters. They are just the same
as one will see disembarking at Ellis Island from the Mediterranean
steamers. During the past ten years the total number arriving over those
departing was almost a million and a quarter. A great many come in for
temporary work in the harvest fields or elsewhere, and after earning a
few hundred dollars go back to their homes in sunny Italy. Of the number
arriving nearly one-half are Spaniards and about one-third Italians. The
proportion of Spaniards has greatly increased in the past two or three
years. The other nationalities include Syrians, Russians (mostly Jews),
French, Austrians, Portuguese, British, etc., in order of numbers. All
the North Americans numbered less than three hundred. It will be seen
that the overwhelming population come from Southern Europe. This is
only natural for language, customs and religion are almost the same,
and the transformation from Italian or Spanish to Argentino is easy.
It is a fact, however, that this element does not furnish the sturdy
agriculturalists that the country needs. This is not the fault of the
government. It seems impossible to induce settlers from Northern Europe
to go down there. Large as this emigration seems it does not nearly keep
pace with the production of the nation, and there is always a scarcity of
labour in the rural districts.

It has been heretofore, and perhaps always will be, the case that Europe
will devote greater attention to the River Plate countries than North
America. There are two good reasons for this: first, the temperate
regions of South America provide an outlet for the surplus population of
the Latin nations of Europe; and, secondly, these countries are depended
upon to furnish a large part of the food supplies for the thickly
populated nations of that continent. The Anglo-Saxon has a choice of the
many colonies of his own land, such as Canada and Australia, and he,
together with the German, finds the United States a congenial country
in which to live. The Frenchman, Spaniard and Italian finds conditions
in Argentina, Southern Brazil and Uruguay more in accordance with his
traditional customs. For the Spaniard the language is the same, and the
Italian soon masters the difference in idiom. So this nation forms and
should form the natural haven for these people, when the struggle for
existence drives them from the land of their birth. As the government
improves it will become still more attractive for them, and it is to be
hoped that the stream of Italian immigrants who now seek our shores will
head for the River Plate. This will redound in every way to the interest
of the whole world. If the production of cereals and meat in that quarter
of the world is sufficiently augmented, it will mean a substantial
reduction in the price of these essential foodstuffs—it will mean cheaper
bread and a lowering of the present almost prohibitive prices of meats.
Another reason is that the La Plata ports are more accessible to Europe
than the United States, while on the north and west coast of South
America the conditions are reversed and the North American influence is
much more pronounced.

The peaceful conquest of Argentina by Europe was but a natural outcome
of conditions. That continent had long realized the advantages of those
broad fertile plains situated in a temperate climate. Europe likewise was
in need of a granary near her markets, and these rich leagues with easy
access provided what she ardently wanted and greatly needed. Force was
not necessary in this conquest, for the power of money alone won the day,
especially for England. British gold built five-sixths of the railways,
nearly all the great _frigorificos_, the port works, and many other
enterprises. British banks handled the national loans, and in every way
British money won its way and made that country paramount in influence,
even though Spain and Italy had two million former subjects living on
the country. The total amount of British money in Argentina exceeds
$1,500,000,000. Germany and France also have large investments there,
and Italy as well, but they are small when compared with the English
sovereigns. The United States investments are hardly worth considering,
as they are so insignificant. In the last few years our large meat
packing firms have been endeavouring to get a foothold in Argentina,
and two are already operating establishments of their own. The spectre
of a meat trust is already beginning to haunt the Argentinians, and the
government in particular. It is said that some of the old established
concerns have been bought out by the American firms, and are simply
operated under the old names. This it was impossible to verify, so I am
unable to state it as a fact or simply rumour. The fact that these meat
barons are entering that field is in itself significant, and they will
no doubt make an effort to gather up the entire industry, and thus be
able to govern the prices just as they do in the United States. Adverse
legislation will probably head them off, however, unless the power of
money should stifle the opposition.

The financial history of Argentina has been a checkered one and not
without its scandals. In reality for years investors looked askance
at all kinds of Argentine securities. The fact is that the national
government suffered from its moral, if not actual, responsibility for the
numerous loans floated by the various states. The national government
in a real sense should have no more responsibility for a provincial
debt than our Federal Government assumes the obligation of a state
under our form of government. Creditors naturally tried to press this
responsibility whenever a province defaulted, and in many instances the
government accepted the liability. Money was borrowed for all kinds of
purposes, in particular by the notorious Celman administration, and the
government became badly involved. The province of Buenos Aires became a
notorious defaulter in its “cedulas,” and its administrators have many
times been characterized as “robbers” by the British security-holders.
The municipalities of Cordoba and Santa Fé also have rather unenviable
records. Many of these debts are being slowly adjusted, however, while
the national government has no difficulty in placing new loans under the
more recent administrations.

Argentina to-day possesses one of the largest banks in the world, the
Banco de la Nacion. It succeeded another national bank which went up in
smoke a few years ago after a notorious career. Foreign banks do a large
part of the business of the country. The first bank, called the Casa
de Moneda, was established by English and Argentine capital as early
as 1822. One of the leading banks of the present day is the London and
River Plate, which has been established for almost half a century. It
has paid many dividends as high as twenty per cent., so that its stock
is considerably above par. Interest used to be as high as twenty-four
per cent. on loans, and exchange fluctuated greatly. To-day interest is
much lower, though still high, and exchange is more steady. The London
and Brazilian Bank, the British Bank of South America, the Anglo South
American and the Bank of London and Mexico are other British banks. Then
there are German, French, Italian and Spanish banks, which do an immense
business. The Provincia de Buenos Aires is one of the largest native
banks, and it has a number of branches.

The Argentine Commercial Code, as it exists to-day, is a well-selected
and well-digested assortment of the best points in the commercial laws of
other countries. Many eminent men have participated in the development
of this code. The laws relating to trade and contracts are excellent,
but the latter have sometimes been at the mercy of judges who were not
over-scrupulous, although foreigners have had less trouble in that line
than natives. The laws relating to the organization of incorporated
companies are excellent. Under them each vote counts irrespective of
holdings, a man with one share having as much influence as the man with a
thousand. This prevents a one-man company, as there must be at least ten
shareholders. Any concern working under a concession must have a fiscal
agent, who is nominated by the government or municipality, and whose duty
it is to supervise the accounts and general conduct of the concern. If
this agent is an honest man, and not susceptible to bribes, he can have
great influence for good; if, however, he is corrupt, the shareholders
are doubly unfortunate.

The Bolsa, or stock exchange, in Buenos Aires is a great institution.
Millions of dollars worth of securities and grains are sold on the floor
of this building. It reminds one of our own stock exchanges, except for
the very babel of voices. Although the cries of the brokers are all in
Spanish, you will see excited groups around you talking in Italian,
German and English. Most of the brokers are able to join any group and
converse in that language. Argentine securities are sold on this exchange
in parcels and they rise and fall rapidly, the margin in one day often
being considerable. Prior to the great crash of 1890, a half billion
dollars worth of securities in gold values were sold at this exchange.
When the panic came ninety per cent. of the companies failed, and the
shares were not worth a cent on the dollar. The great national bank,
with a capital of $50,000,000 national money, which closed its doors,
precipitated the crisis, and brought down with it the London house of
Baring Bros. The depositors of this bank lost more than $70,000,000 by
the unfortunate failure, which was brought about by crookedness on the
part of the management, and high financing. Money came in so easily and
rapidly that the directors thought there was no end to the golden stream
headed their way. Immense sums were loaned to irresponsible politicians
with no hope or scarcely expectation of having it returned. Large drafts
would also be cashed from the same sources, and bribery was rampant. Its
loans at one time were over four hundred million dollars in national
money.

However old the history of Argentina, the civilization of the country
is essentially new. One may find a beautiful mansion in the midst of
a princely domain. Everything else, however, is crude. The workmen who
are scattered over the _estancia_ are ignorant and unprogressive, and
if left to themselves would retrograde. Even near the cities the people
live in a very primitive way. The roads across the pampas are hardly
distinguishable from cattle trails, and they are certainly no better.
The bones and carcasses of cattle and sheep that have died on the march
are numerous, and do not beautify the highway. The railroad maps are no
criterion of the actual settlement of the country. Names will be seen
in abundance, but most of them are only stations for freight upon big
_estancias_, with elevators, stock-pens and perhaps a water-tank. Even
a small town may be distant twenty or more miles from a farmer in some
of the older settled provinces. Everything points to a country in its
infancy. The habits of the natives and colonists are usually sluggish
and seemingly unrefined in many ways, but the kindliness and hospitality
of the Latin is everywhere in evidence. The village life of American
states is missed, for the little railroad settlements seem composed of a
shifting, wage-earning population different from our villagers, most of
whom own their own modest little dwelling. Here a shack answers for a
habitation.

Argentina could furnish homes for and feed a population of one hundred
millions. In this settlement, however, it is doubtful if the Anglo-Saxon
will have much part. It will be a harvest field for that race to reap
the wealth, but a breeding-place for the Latin. The Anglo-Saxon does
not find a companionship among the Italians and Spaniards. Furthermore
the loneliness of the plain grows upon him. The poor man who attempts
to make a home in this country, as the homesteaders have in our western
states and in Canada, will not succeed. He must have money to begin
with and ability to compete with the wealthy _estancieros_ who would be
his neighbours. There is still plenty of opportunity to acquire virgin
land at a comparatively low price within five hundred or six hundred
miles of the capital, and watch it grow in value. Some colonies or
communities have been quite successful, if the management has been in
good hands. Several European companies have tried the plan of bringing in
colonists and selling them lands. They advance money for machinery and
the necessities, receiving in payment a certain share of the products.
The Baron Hirsh colony of Jews has been quite successful, but in this
case unlimited money was back of the scheme in addition to the spirit of
benevolence rather than the commercial and money-getting mania.

[Illustration: SHIPPING HIDES TO THE UNITED STATES]

The number of acres of land under cultivation in Argentina has more
than doubled in the past ten years. The acreage that was tilled for the
season of 1909 was 47,000,000 acres. Of this number 15,500,000 was sown
in wheat, 7,500,000 in corn and 3,600,000 in flax. The following are
the figures of production of cereals as reported by the Department of
Agriculture in metric tons of 2,205 pounds avoirdupois: wheat, 2,576,009,
corn, 2,336,334, linseed, 918,413, oats, 435,540. Of this production
seventy-five per cent. of the corn is available for export, seventy per
cent. of the wheat and ninety per cent. of the linseed. Only a small
portion of the wheat is ground into flour before it is exported. The
cereals are sent to Great Britain, Germany and Belgium, although the
United States has been buying considerable quantities of linseed. There
were 2,723,000 frozen carcasses of mutton exported in 1909, going almost
wholly to Great Britain, and 2,584,301 of beef. In addition to this a
lot of jerked, or salted, beef is sent to nearby markets. The United
States purchases the bulk of the hides, and for the year 1909 received
2,608,230, weighing 38,798 metric tons. Horse hides, of which two hundred
and fifty thousand were exported, went to Germany, sheep hides to France
and goatskins to Uncle Sam. Argentina exported 176,682 metric tons of
wool, of which France took almost one half and the United States 18,961
tons more than Great Britain.

The present population of Argentina is only about five to the square
mile. In 1869 the population was estimated at less than two million.
A dozen years later it had risen to three million, and in 1895 it was
still less than four million. From 1857 to 1897 the number of immigrants
was estimated at a million and a half in round numbers. Of the total
number of inhabitants those of other than Latin origin probably do not
much exceed one hundred thousand in number—by this I mean those who do
not inherit Latin blood from one parent or the other. This would not
include the native races that dwell in considerable numbers in some of
the territories. It means that Latin customs and traditions are likely
to continue to prevail, although they will be considerably modified by
the conditions and influence of a new land. The old conservatism and
hindrance of tradition will, to a great extent, disappear before the
new-world aggressiveness and progressiveness. Thus there will be a new
type, which can already be traced, with perhaps a French stamp upon it,
but it will nevertheless be distinctively Latin.

The growth of cities and towns in Argentina has been out of proportion
to the increase in population. Buenos Aires, of course, receives the
largest number, but the same disposition to reside in the crowded centres
is apparent in Rosario, Bahia Blanca, Tucuman and the other cities. This
massing together in municipalities is not the healthiest condition that
could be devised. As none of these cities are manufacturing districts
this concentration of population hinders economic development in a
nation whose resources are in the cultivation of the soil. Every man
thus withdrawn from farm work is a loss to the producing power of the
country, for much land is lying idle for the simple reason that labourers
are lacking. Until the bulk of the land is alienated from the present
princely estates and broken up into smaller holdings it seems likely that
these conditions will continue to prevail. A change may occur before
long, as many of the big landowners borrow money at exorbitant rates
of interest in order to live in luxury. This will possibly result in
breaking up some of these holdings. If the government would enter upon a
systematic campaign to encourage the homesteader and small farmer, much
good of a permanent value might be accomplished, and a stable as well as
intelligent population be built up. The fertile soil and kindly climate
of this republic ought to easily support a population of more than five
times the present number.

Politics has been one of the curses of Argentina. A certain class has
had all the opportunity to get the benefits of office holding. The
politicians work night and day—they are the counterparts of our own,
and never sleep on the job. A little more tact and grace on the surface
only covers the same motive—graft. The elections are always one-sided.
Formerly they were conducted at the whim of a dictator or political
autocrat; to-day the ballot box is stuffed and the election laws are
ignored. The elections are never really an expression of the sentiment
of the people. They are held on Sundays at the doors of the churches.
Outside the church door are tables around which sit several men. The
ballots are of paper and are dropped through slits in the boxes. Many
hand their ballots to the receivers to be voted. Some voters openly
repeat their ballots by giving different names, and the receivers pay
no attention to the palpable fraud. In Rosario, for instance, out of
forty thousand Argentine citizens qualified to vote at the presidential
election of 1910, only ten thousand registered. Of these ten thousand
only one-fourth took out their voting tickets, and of these all did not
cast their ballot on election day. Thus less than twenty-five hundred
actually voted at the June election in Rosario, in that large city. One
party, calling themselves the Radicals, decided beforehand not to go to
the polls, because certain electoral reforms demanded by them were not
granted. Says the _Review of the River Plate_: “In electoral matters the
country is as backward as it was one hundred years ago, and outside the
federal capital there is no freedom of the polls, force always carries
the day—and the elections. The official party say that they will not
bring forward any candidate for deputy who does not subscribe fifty
thousand dollars towards the funds of the party. This is a pretty stiff
price, as the period is for six years and the emoluments of a deputy only
amount to fifteen hundred dollars a month, which is the highest figure
paid to any legislator in any part of the world. The voters’ tickets,
when issued, are often traded about and sometimes bring quite a premium
about election day.”

Mr. Carpenter tells a story about the mayor of a certain city. On the
voting list was the name of a man who was dead, and some one protested:
“Why, mayor, Munyoz is dead. Don’t you remember we were together last
month when the report of his death came in?” “Oh, yes, I remember,”
replied the mayor, “but if he is dead that is all the better; he can’t
now make any fuss as to how his vote shall be cast.” Nothing to preserve
the secrecy of the ballot has yet been adopted. This has led to much
political unrest which has shown itself in various disturbances. Added
to this has been the agitation of professional disturbers, who have
come here from Italy and Spain and attempted to spread their propaganda
of social revolution. It is a fertile soil for such doctrine, for
nowhere is the discrepancy between wealth and poverty greater. In one
generation hundreds have become wealthy by the growth in land values,
the unearned increment, and they spend their money like water. Their
arrogance inspires envy in those less fortunate. Argentina may well be
glad that the age of demagoguery has not yet been reached, for it is
fully as dangerous as open bribery and corruption, in my opinion. At
present the country is materially prosperous and every one is able to
find employment. The cost of living, however, is very high and rapidly
increasing, so that differences between capital and labour seem to be on
the increase. The enormous fortunes in the hands of the few, many of them
ignorant and without tact, may cause trouble in the future.

It is a mistaken view to think that Argentina is governed by revolution
alone. It is true that in the past quarter of a century there have been
three more or less serious revolutions, as well as minor disturbances.
Two Presidents, Celman and Saenz-Peña, were compelled to resign by these
malcontents. As a rule little blood is shed, and it was simply their
method of introducing a change. The majority of people simply looked
upon them as an interruption to business and a nuisance in general. The
government, however, has undergone a great change in recent years.
The comic-opera traits have generally disappeared. The constitution is
admirable, but its provisions are not always carried out to the letter.
The laws are much better administered in the larger centres than in the
remote Camp. Bribery used to be common, and was considered as a matter of
course as much as stamp dues. This has generally disappeared, at least as
an open custom. Many Argentinos no doubt still enter politics with the
expectation of enriching themselves and hope to retire with a well filled
purse.

It is not a rare thing for a President or other high official to quit
public life after many years of service poorer than he went in. President
Bartolomé Mitre was one of the more recent types of that kind, as he bore
a reputation for financial integrity that was absolutely above reproach.
The country is becoming too big for petty graft and petty revolutions.
The increasing importance of the nation has rather sobered all classes
by a feeling of responsibility for its reputation. The spirit that
formerly showed itself in revolutions now occasionally makes itself felt
in disorder during strikes. And yet I do not know that this disorder
is much greater than has been experienced in our own land. In either
country it is reprehensible and is a disgrace to pretended civilization.
The authorities have a drastic way of dealing with disorders by declaring
a state of siege or martial law. This submits the disturbance to be
dealt with according to military law and often effectually stops it. The
Italians are there, as here, often the greatest disturbers during the
strikes. The bull-fight has been abolished, and they now have no sport
that equals in brutality, or exceeds in gambling proclivities, the prize
fight, the so-called “manly art.”

Absolute freedom of the press prevails in Argentina, as well as liberty
of speech. The papers are at times filled with caustic criticisms of the
government which go unnoticed. Public orators also unburden themselves
with the most bitter arraignments of officials with impunity. An instance
of this nature occurred during the writer’s own sojourn in Buenos Aires.
A large meeting was held in the Plaza de Mayo where two socialist orators
arraigned the President and his ministers as “a gang of thieves” in the
most intemperate language. The Argentine constitution is so free in its
wording that the people seem to believe it has no limitations at all.
They appear to think that liberty is such an elastic and unfathomable
principle that there is nothing beyond. This intemperance, unless
checked, bodes trouble for the future. Orators and so-called advanced
thinkers must remember that the status of free men is only possible while
the beneficiary acknowledges his obligation to bestow the same privileges
that he enjoys. If the citizen is protected by law against violence and
calumny, he must not be guilty of a violation of the same legal precepts
by calumniating the government and its officials. If the officials are
forbidden to do acts which are _ultra vires_, then the citizen must
be inhibited against an excessive zeal. An ignoring of these plain
principles can lead to nothing else than anarchy and the subversion of
all legitimate government.

One cannot study this promising republic without an awakening interest
and a considerable degree of admiration. There are faults that one can
easily find, and many criticisms that can be made. Its development,
however, is recent, even if its history is as old as our own land. The
future means much for Argentina, and its advancement during the next
decade will be marvellous, unless all signs fail. The North Americans can
have an important part in this development, if they desire and pursue
the right policy. It is well to study the country and its needs, the
people and their wants, and the result will be interesting as well as
satisfactory.

THE END.



FOOTNOTES


[1] The following table shows the length of the various lines of railway
in Argentina, and the width of track, as they were at the close of 1909.

          RAILWAY                 GAUGE           MILES IN
                                                  OPERATION

  Buenos Aires and Pacific        broad             2,967
  Great Southern                    ”               2,745
  Central                           ”               2,528
  Western                           ”               1,360
  Entre Rios                     standard             688
  Northeastern                      ”                 560
  Buenos Aires Central              ”                 165
  Central Cordoba                 narrow              772
  Cordoba and Rosario               ”                 180
  Province of Santa Fé              ”               1,028
  Northern                          ”                 567
  Central Northern                  ”               1,409
                                                   ------
                                                   14,969

[2] The author desires to acknowledge his obligation for a number of
historical facts to the South American Republics, by Hon. Thomas C.
Dawson, and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, of New York and London.



APPENDICES


I

AREA AND POPULATION

The population of Argentina to-day probably exceeds six and a half
millions. This does not average quite six to the square mile, a very
small population indeed, considering the great extent of fertile and
productive soil. Only a very small proportion of the inhabitants are
other than Caucasians, a marked distinction over the other republics of
South America. The states are very unequal in size, and the population
is very unevenly distributed, as the following table, furnished by the
National Demographic Bureau for 1908, will show:

  ---------------------+-----------+------------+---------------------
       Provinces       |    Area   | Population |  Capital
  ---------------------+-----------+------------+---------------------
  Buenos Aires         |   117,720 |  1,647,029 | La Plata
  Catamarca            |    47,500 |    106,891 | Catamarca
  Cordoba              |    62,130 |    546,844 | Cordoba
  Corrientes           |    32,560 |    319,386 | Corrientes
  Entre Rios           |    28,770 |    406,867 | Paraná
  Jujuy                |    18,970 |     59,075 | Jujuy
  Mendoza              |    56,470 |    216,196 | Mendoza
  La Rioja             |    34,530 |     86,851 | La Rioja
  Salta                |    62,150 |    142,937 | Salta
  San Juan             |    33,700 |    111,743 | San Juan
  Santa Fé             |    50,890 |    816,401 | Santa Fé
  Santiago del Estero  |    39,740 |    198,529 | Santiago del Estero
  San Luis             |    28,520 |    107,471 | San Luis
  Tucuman              |     8,920 |    293,211 | Tucuman
  Federal District     |        70 |  1,189,252 | Buenos Aires
  ---------------------+-----------+------------+---------------------
      Territories      |    Area   | Population |  Capital
  ---------------------+-----------+------------+---------------------
  Chaco                |    52,710 |     23,876 | Resistencia
  Chubut               |    93,380 |     24,317 | Rawson
  Formosa              |    41,380 |     13,995 | Formosa
  Los Andes            |    22,000 |      2,246 | San Antonio
  Misiones             |    11,820 |     42,933 | Posadas
  Neuquen              |    42,320 |     26,417 | Chos Malal
  La Pampa             |    56,290 |     76,393 | General Acha
  Rio Negro            |    75,890 |     24,312 | Viedma
  Santa Cruz           |   109,090 |      4,214 | Puerto Gallegos
  Tierra del Fuego     |     8,290 |      1,637 | Ushuaia
                       | --------- |  --------- |
                       | 1,135,810 |  6,489,023 |
  ---------------------+-----------+------------+---------------------


II

SUGGESTIONS FOR TRAVELLERS

It is no longer necessary for the person visiting Argentina to take the
roundabout way via Europe. The Lamport and Holt Company runs some very
comfortable boats between New York and Buenos Aires, making the round
trip in from twenty-three to twenty-six days. Since the completion of
the Transandine Railway one can go from New York to Buenos Aires by
the way of Panama and the West Coast, in even a shorter time, if close
connections are made. The Pacific Steam Navigation Company and Compañia
Sud Americana de Vapores maintain a joint service between Panama and
Valparaiso, stopping at a number of ports en route. It is advisable
for any one visiting that country to go by one route and return by the
other, and thus secure a comprehensive view of the greater part of South
America. It requires from ten to fourteen days to make the trip between
Buenos Aires and Valparaiso via the Straits of Magellan. The boats
that make that trip do not go up the river to Buenos Aires, but it is
necessary to transship at Montevideo.

One should not miss the opportunity to visit Montevideo, capital of
Uruguay, which is a night’s journey from Buenos Aires down the Rio de
la Plata, and on the opposite shore. Comfortable steamers make the trip
every night, and the charge is $5.00, including berth. Montevideo is an
attractive city of about four hundred thousand people, and contests with
Santiago, Chile, for the position of third city in South America. Two
or three days can be devoted to that city very profitably, even by the
hurried traveller, and there are two or three very comfortable hotels.
The money of Uruguay is on a gold basis, the peso being worth about $1.04
in United States currency.

It is well to remember that the Spanish language is universally used in
Argentina. In the cities, however, there are numerous British residents,
and quite a number of Germans, most of whom understand English; so
that it is not difficult at all for one to visit the populated centres
of that country without being able to speak the Spanish language. The
railways are almost entirely under British management, so that it is
generally possible to find some one speaking English at the stations
in the important towns. At the hotels it is not so easy to find an
English-speaking clerk or waiter, although there are quite a number who
keep a clerk who understands English. Comfortable hotels will be found
in most of the cities, as new ones have been erected within the past few
years, owing to the increased travel and the growth of the cities. In the
city of Buenos Aires there are many hotels of merit. The Phœnix, at which
the writer stopped, is a very comfortable hotel and centrally located,
with an English air predominating, and is a favourite stopping-place for
English-speaking people. The hotel rates at most of the hotels are rather
higher than for similar accommodations in the United States. The rates
are generally inclusive, and provide for coffee and rolls in the morning,
which is generally served in the bedroom, and two substantial meals which
differ very little.

The railway equipment of the roads in Argentina is generally very good,
with wide and comfortable coaches and good seats, although one wishes
for the Pullman trains of our own country on the long journeys. The
principal discomfort arises from the dust, which at times fills the cars
and covers everything. The sleeping-cars are all of the compartment style
and are quite comfortable. The dining-car service is very commendable,
and an excellent meal of several courses is furnished at a uniform price
of two pesos, so that with the tip and all it does not cost the traveller
to exceed $1.00 in United States currency.

The money of Argentina is all arranged upon the decimal system. The
standard of their currency is the peso, which is divided into one hundred
centavos, and has a pretty fixed value of about forty-three cents in
money of the United States. The money is nearly all paper, as very little
gold gets into circulation. Rates of postage are about the same as
everywhere in the postal union. A letter to the United States or England
costs twelve centavos, and a postal card five centavos. The service is
prompt and reliable.

The price of clothing and most articles of wear is rather high, because
the import duties in many instances are excessive, but they are not, as
a rule, so high as in Brazil. In Buenos Aires one will find some very
fine stores where almost anything can be purchased, and the goods are
well displayed. There is in that city one of the largest mercantile
establishments in the world, which has a number of branches in the
capital as well as in some of the other cities. There are several English
bookstores where books and American magazines can be purchased, although
the prices are rather staggering. Cab charges in most of the cities are
very reasonable, and in some places extremely low. It is best to find out
beforehand at your hotel, or some other place, what the local rates are.
At the end of the journey give that amount to the driver, together with
a small tip, and do not ask him the price, or enter into any controversy
with him. Like his counterpart in almost every other country, the cab
driver in Buenos Aires will take advantage of the stranger in his charges
if the opportunity affords. Electric street cars reach every part of the
city, and the fare is ten centavos. The routes are rather complicated,
however. Each car bears a number, and the traveller should secure a book
giving the various routes by numbers.

In planning a visit to Argentina the traveller must never forget that
the seasons are reversed, and that summer time in the United States is
winter time in Argentina. Buenos Aires is about the same latitude as
Atlanta, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California. As you go north from there
the temperature gets warmer, and when you go south it becomes colder,
being just the reverse of conditions in northern latitudes. Furthermore,
the temperature changes with the altitude, and as you go up the Andes,
there is a perceptible change of temperature for each thousand feet
of elevation, and the clothes to be taken along should be arranged in
accordance with these suggestions.


III

BIBLIOGRAPHY

For the benefit of those interested in a further study of Argentina, the
following list of books treating wholly or in part of that republic is
herewith appended. It is not a long list, for the literature upon that
country is not extensive, and some of those cited contain only a few
chapters devoted to this large and virile republic.

    AKERS, CHARLES EDMOND: A History of South America, 1854-1904.
    London, 1904.

    BEERBOHM, JULIUS: Wanderings in Patagonia; or, Life Among the
    Ostrich-Hunters. London, 1879.

    CARPENTER, FRANK G.: South America: social, industrial, and
    political. Akron, Ohio, 1900.

    CLARK, FRANCIS E.: The Continent of Opportunity. New York, 1907.

    CURTIS, WILLIAM ELEROY: The Capitals of Spanish America. New
    York, 1888.

    DAWSON, THOMAS C.: The South American Republics (an excellent
    history). New York, 1903.

    DIXIE, FLORENCE: Across Patagonia. London, 1880.

    FITZGERALD, E. A.: The Highest Andes. London, 1899.

    GRANT, ROBERT, & CO.: Handy Guide to the Argentine Republic.
    Buenos Aires, 1909.

    HALE, ALBERT: The South Americans. Indianapolis, 1907.

    HUTCHINSON, LINCOLN: Report on Trade Conditions in Argentina,
    Paraguay and Uruguay. Washington, 1906.

    HUDSON, W. H.: The Naturalist in La Plata. London, 1903.

    KOEBEL, W. H.: Modern Argentina; the El Dorado of To-day.
    London, 1907.

    MARTIN, PERCY F.: Through Five Republics of South America.
    London, 1906.

    MITRE, BARTOLOMÉ: The Emancipation of South America and the
    History of San Martin. (Translation.) London, 1893.

    PAGE, THOMAS J.: La Plata, the Argentine Confederation, a
    narrative of exploration by the United States. New York, 1859.

    PELLESCHI, JUAN: Eight Months on the Gran Chaco. London, 1886.

    PRITCHARD, H. HESKETH: Through the Heart of Patagonia. London,
    1902.

    RUHL, ARTHUR: The Other Americans. New York, 1907.

    SHAW, ARTHUR E.: Forty Years in the Argentine Republic. London,
    1902.

    SPEARS, JOHN R.: The Gold Diggings of Cape Horn. New York, 1895.

    TURNER, THOMAS A.: Argentina and the Argentines. London, 1892.

    VINCENT, FRANK: Around and About South America. New York, 1890.

    WHITE, ERNEST WILLIAM: Cameos from the Silverland. London, 1882.

    WIBORG, FRANK: A Commercial Traveller in South America. New
    York, 1905.



INDEX


    Aconcagua, Mt., 2, 176, 182-8, 316.

    Aguas Corrientes, 47.

    Agriculture, 51, 63, 162, 234, 394.

    Alfalfa, 51.

    Alvear, Avenida, 35.

    Alvear, General, 323.

    Amazon River, 74.

    Americans, 32, 362, 365, 380.

    Andes Mountains, 2, 135, 173-188.

    Anglican Church, 294.

    Animals, 91, 145.

    Antarctic Ocean, 154.

    Anthrax, 66.

    Architecture, 38, 242.

    Area, 1, 405.

    Argentine Northern Railway, 278.

    Aristocracy, 190.

    Army, the, 249 _et seq._

    Arrieros, 183.

    Art, 242.

    _Asado con cuero_, 69.

    Asuncion, Paraguay, 10, 76, 281.

    Atlantic Ocean, 5.

    Avellaneda, Nicolás, 237, 339.


    Bahia Blanca, 8, 128-132, 272, 284.

    Balconies, 201.

    Banks, 375, 388.

    Banco Nacional, 351.

    Bargaining, 40.

    Battleships, 256-8, 362.

    Bathing resorts, 221-9.

    Beauty, love of, 37.

    Belgrano, Manuel, 309-311, 322.

    Belgrano, town of, 38.

    Bermejo River, 4, 88.

    Betting, 209.

    Bibliography, 413.

    Birds, 91, 115, 164.

    Boating, 217.

    Bohorquez, 304.

    Bolivia, Republic of, 113, 277.

    Bolsa, 390.

    Bolivar, General, 20.

    Bolas, the, 149.

    Boundary commission, 140.

    Buenos Aires, city of, 1, 4, 10, 16, 22 _et seq._, 77, 122, 158, 192,
        234, 235, 260, 274, 281, 377;
      province of, 7, 128-132;
      lake of, 145, 285.

    Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, 158, 267-273.

    Buenos Aires and Rosario Railway, 274.

    Brazil, Republic of, 19, 74, 254, 371.

    British, 23, 32, 189, 198, 366, 386.

    Bribery, 401.

    Brown, Admiral William, 323.

    Buildings, 242.


    Cab drivers, victory of, 166.

    Cabs, 227, 411.

    Cabinet, the, 15.

    Cabot, Sebastian, 78.

    Callao, Peru, 301.

    Camino de los Andes, 269.

    Camp, 10, 22, 48 _et seq._, 227.

    Campo, 48 _et seq._

    Campaña, 79.

    Caracoles, 178, 268.

    _Casuchas_, 183.

    Catamarca, province of, 114, 278.

    Cathedral, the, 244, 294.

    Cattle, 50, 56, 144.

    Cattle dip, 58.

    Cavaliers, Spanish, 242.

    Celman, Miguel Juarez, 345-348, 388, 400.

    Cemeteries, 43.

    Central Argentina Railway, 273-5.

    Centennial, 377-381.

    Centralization, 16.

    Chacabuco, 163, 317.

    Chaco, the Gran, 3, 89-98, 108.

    Chile, Republic of, 2, 114, 151, 177, 268, 284, 372.

    Children, 203-8.

    Chos Malal, 134.

    Christ of the Andes, 176, 268.

    Chubut River, 133.

    Church, the, 287 _et seq._

    Churches, 244.

    City, a model, 121-6.

    Cities, 196, 396.

    Cleveland, President, 355.

    Climate, 5.

    Clubs, 28, 219.

    Coal, 120.

    Cochrane, Lord, 318.

    Copper, 119.

    Colorado River, 133.

    Colon Theatre, 245.

    Colonia, Uruguay, 305.

    Commercial code, 389.

    Commerce, 285.

    Concordia, 86.

    Condor, the, 115-8.

    Congress, 14, 322, 331.

    Congress, Palace of, 35, 381.

    Conservatism, 200.

    Constitution, 332, 402.

    Cordoba, province of, 109-111, 115;
      city of, 18, 110-1, 233.

    Cordoba Central Railway, 111.

    Cordoba League, 341, 346.

    Corrientes, province of, 80, 86;
      city of, 80.

    Corso, the, 169.

    Cordilleras, 179.

    Cortez, Hernando, 243.

    Corruption, 40.

    Courtesy, 204.

    Cowboys, American, 72.

    Cristobal Colon, Paseo of, 39.

    Cumbre, the, 181, 182, 268.

    Customs, 214, 224.


    Darwin, Charles, 140.

    Defence, forces of, 246 _et seq._

    Deputies, 14.

    Derqui, Santiago, 333.

    Desolation Island, 153.

    Dictators, 321.

    Dining-cars, 159.

    Distances, big, 138.

    Discovery, 17.

    Docks, 24, 26.

    Dolores, 129.

    Dorrego, President, 323.

    Drama, the, 237.

    Drake, Sir Francis, 139.

    Dreadnaughts, new, 254.

    Drive, the, or Corso, 29.

    Drouths, 56.

    Dust, 160.


    Earthquake, 167.

    Education, 230 _et seq._

    Elections, 13, 397.

    El Portillo, 179.

    English, 198.

    England, war with, 307.

    Enseñada, 122, 265.

    Entre Rios, province of, 79, 86.

    Entre Rios Railway, 280.

    _Estancias_, 53, 142, 162.

    _Estancieros_, 35, 55, 191.

    Europe, 384.

    Expensiveness, 410.

    Exports, 369, 394.


    Failures, 391.

    Farms, big, 9, 138.

    Federalists, 329.

    _Fiestas_, 169.

    Figueroa Alcorta, José, 358-9.

    Finances, 387.

    Fire department, 46.

    Fishing, 228.

    Flamingoes, 164.

    Flax, 9.

    Florida, Calle, 30.

    Football, 199.

    Foreign influence, 13.

    Foreigners, 11, 87, 379, 384.

    Forests, 90, 135.

    Formosa, territory of, 89.

    Fray Bentos, Uruguay, 85.

    Freedom, political, 197.

    _Frigorificos_, 79, 386.

    Frozen meat, 61.

    Fruits, 172, 217.

    Fuegian Archipelago, 151.

    Funerals, 44.

    Future, the, 10, 403.


    Gallegos, 140.

    Gambling, 209, 213, 227.

    Gaucho, the, 67 _et seq._, 324.

    General Acha, 133.

    Germans, 23, 361, 364, 367.

    Glaciers, 153.

    Gold, 118, 291.

    Golf, 223.

    Government, 14, 197, 400.

    Gran Chaco, 278.

    Grains, 394.

    Grapes, 171.

    Great Britain, war with, 18.

    Great Southern Railway, 129, 131, 133, 282-4.

    Ground rats, 152.

    Guanaco, 144.

    Guenas, 276.


    Harvesting, 64.

    Hayes, President, as arbitrator, 89.

    Hides, 395.

    Hippodromo, 210.

    History, 17-20, 298 _et seq._

    Hotels, 226, 409.

    Hotel Bristol, 226.

    Holidays, 42.

    Horcones Valley, 181.

    Horn, Cape, 153.

    Horses, 9, 63.

    Horse racing, 209-216.

    Hospitals, 42.


    Ibera, Lake of, 87.

    Iguassú River, 81, 305;
      Falls, 81-3.

    Immigration, 382.

    Imports, 369.

    Incas, the, 287, 299.

    Incas, Bridge of the, 174, 267, 316.

    Indians, 17, 95-8, 148-151, 155-7, 287-9, 299.

    Independence, 19, 309.

    Industry, 35.

    Ingeniero White, 131.

    Inquisition, 20.

    Insects, 91.

    Instruction, public, 232.

    Italians, 32, 54, 65, 202, 383, 402.

    Irrigation, 134, 170.


    Jesuits, 18, 87, 289.

    Jews, 394.

    Jockey Club, 28, 210-2.

    Journalism, 237, 239.

    Jujuy, province of, 113-4;
      city of, 114, 277.

    Juncal, 181.


    Lakes, 86.

    Language, 408.

    La Guayra, Falls of, 83-4.

    La Prensa, 362, 363.

    La Plata, City of, 121-6, 233, 345.

    La Plata, Rio de, 3, 17, 74 _et seq._, 218, 258.

    La Pampa, territory of, 132, 282.

    La Paz, Bolivia, 278.

    La Quiaca, 277.

    Las Cuevas, 174, 268.

    Lavalle, General, 323, 325.

    League, 9.

    Lecherias, 46.

    Libraries, Public, 230.

    Lima, Peru, 278.

    Liquor license, 46.

    Literature, 236-9.

    Locusts, 56, 102-8, 162.

    Lopez, the Paraguayan dictator, 336.

    Los Andes, Chile, 178, 268.

    Los Andes, territory of, 114.

    Lottery, National, 46.


    Madrid, Spain, 10.

    Magellan, Ferdinand, 17, 138, 151.

    Magellan, Straits of, 136, 271.

    Maipu, 129.

    Martial law, 402.

    Mar del Plata, 129, 221-9.

    Marble, 119.

    Markets, 39.

    Matto Grosso, Brazil, 88, 108.

    Mayo, Avenida de, 34;
      Plaza de, 35.

    Meat export, 394.

    Mendoza, Pedro de, 17.

    Mendoza, city of, 165-173, 267, 358;
      province of, 119;
      river of, 174.

    Mercedes, Villa, 163.

    Mercaderio Mt., 180, 181.

    Methodist Episcopal Church, 295.

    Mihanovitch, Nicolas, 75.

    Milkman, the, 41.

    Military service, 251.

    Minerals, 118-9.

    Misiones, territory of, 3, 8, 80, 86-8, 290.

    Mississippi River, 3.

    Mitre, Bartolomé, 237, 241, 333-8, 340, 352, 401.

    Monroe Doctrine, 300.

    Montevideo, Uruguay, 3, 11, 308, 408.

    Money, 16, 410.

    Monotony of pampas, 49.

    Morris Schools, 296.

    Mud huts, 49, 54.

    Museum, 127.


    Nahuel Huapi, 284.

    National Railways, 278, 284.

    Naval School, 253.

    Navy, 252-9.

    Negro River, 133.

    Neuquen, town of, 133, 284;
      territory of, 134.

    Newness, 391.

    Newspapers, 239-242, 363.

    _Nieve Penitente_, 182.

    Northeastern Railway, 280.


    Observatory, 165.

    O’Higgins, General, 318.

    Open Door, the, 163.

    Oran, 277.

    Ostriches, 164.

    Onas, the, 155.


    Pacific Steam Navigation Company, the, 264.

    Palms, 90.

    Palermo Park, 29.

    Pampas, the, 2, 8, 24, 48 _et seq._, 137, 161, 381-3.

    Pampero, 160.

    Pampa Blanca, 276.

    Panama, 271, 301, 407.

    Pan-American Congress, 380.

    Paraguay, Republic of, 11, 21, 281, 289.

    Paraguay River, 4, 77, 80, 88.

    Paraguayan War, 337.

    Paraná, city of, 79, 332.

    Paraná River, 4, 61, 75-81, 100, 280, 332.

    Paraiso tree, 105.

    Paris, 22.

    Parks, 37.

    Patagonia, 3, 6, 62, 115, 132, 136 _et seq._, 160, 285, 292, 340.

    Patio, the, 38.

    Patriotism, 119.

    Paulistas, the, 305.

    Pellegrini, Carlos, 237, 350-351, 354.

    Penguins, 156.

    People, 189 _et seq._

    Peru, Republic of, 318.

    Pilcomayo River, 4, 88.

    Pizarro, 243.

    Plaza de Mayo, 13, 244.

    Pleasure, love of, 27.

    Poetry, 237.

    Police, 34, 246.

    Politics, 195, 237, 297.

    Policy, Spanish, toward Colonies, 300.

    Polygamy, Indian, 97.

    Poncho, the, 69.

    Population, 1, 395, 405.

    Poplars, 170.

    Porteños, 22, 192, 342.

    Portugal, 18.

    Portuguese, 304.

    Postage, 410.

    Post-office, 16.

    Posadas, 80, 281.

    Possibilities, 393.

    Pueyrredon, 314.

    Prensa, La, 239.

    Press, the, 239-242;
      freedom of, 402.

    President, the, 14, 293.

    Prisons, 155.

    Presbyterian Church, 294.

    Provinces, 14.

    Provincia de Santa Fé Railway, 279.

    Promenades, 225.

    Protestantism, 294.

    Puerto Galvan, 131.

    Puerto Deseado, 284.

    Puerto Militar, 130, 258.

    Puente del Inca (_See_ Bridge of the Incas).

    Purchasing power, 370.

    Pullmans, 261.

    Punta Arenas, 146-8, 154.


    Quebracho, 92-5, 279.

    Quintana, Manuel, 357.

    Quito, Ecuador, 307.


    Races, 29.

    Rainfall, 6, 8.

    Railroads, 194, 260 _et seq._, 409.

    Rambla, the, 225.

    Religion, 207, 287 _et seq._

    Resistencia, 279.

    Restaurants, 31.

    Review, annual, of navy, 258.

    Revolutions, 11, 19, 321, 342, 349, 358, 400.

    Ricoleta Cemetery, 43.

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 23.

    Rioja, province of, 114, 278;
      city of, 114.

    Rio Negro, 133;
      territory of, 133.

    Rio Primero, 110.

    Rio Quinto, 163.

    Rivadavia, Bernardo, 19, 322.

    Rivers, 3-5.

    Roca, Julio, 340, 342-5, 355-7.

    Rocking Stone, 129.

    Rodeo, the, 71.

    Roman Catholicism, 237 _et seq._

    Rosario, 7, 22, 75, 79, 99-101, 273, 398.

    Rosas, Juan Manuel, 238, 324-7.

    Routes, 407.


    Saavedra, Hernandarios, 304.

    Saenz Peña, Luis, 352-4, 400.

    Saenz Peña, Roque, 359.

    Salta, province of, 113, 114, 276.

    Salto del Soldado, 179.

    San Antonio, Cape, 3.

    San Antonio, 284.

    San Carlos, 272.

    San Domingo, church of, 295, 308.

    San Ignacio, 87.

    San Julian, 140.

    San Juan, 272.

    San Luis, 165.

    San Martin, José de, 311-9

    San Rafael, 272.

    Santa Cruz, 140.

    Santa Catalina, 234.

    Santa Fé, city of, 18, 80, 101, 331;
      province of, 101-2, 115, 163.

    Santa Maria, Cape, 3.

    Santiago, Chile, 186, 317, 408.

    Santiago del Estero, province of, 275.

    Sarmiento, President, 230, 337.

    Scab, the, 143.

    Schools, 232-6.

    Seasons, 221, 411.

    Senators, 14.

    Sheep, 9, 50, 57, 59, 141;
      shearing of, 61.

    Sheep dip, 143.

    Shipping, 25.

    Siesta, the, 66.

    Silver, River of (_See_ Rio de La Plata).

    Smuggling, 302.

    Smythe Channel, 154.

    Snakes, 91.

    Snow, 6.

    Socialism, 399.

    Socialists, 402.

    Society, 190.

    Soldier’s Leap, 179.

    Solis, Juan de, 17.

    Solitudes of the Andes, 181.

    Southern Cross, 220.

    Southern Railway (_See_ Great Southern).

    Spain, 18.

    Spaniards, 11, 23, 32, 203, 288, 298, 383.

    Sports, 199, 209.

    Stock exchange, 390.

    Stores, 410.

    Straits of Magellan, 153.

    Strangers’ Club, 28.

    Streets, 30, 33.

    Strikes, 196, 401.

    Suggestions, for trade, 375;
      for travellers, 407-412.

    Superficiality, 230, 234.

    Superstition of Indians, 149.


    Tala, 276.

    Tannin Extract, 92-5.

    Tandil, 129.

    Tattooing, Indian, 96.

    Technical schools, 233.

    Tehuelches, the, 148-9.

    Telegraph, 16.

    Temperly, 128.

    Temperature, 5, 8, 411.

    Territories, 14.

    Theatres, 28, 31, 245.

    Threshing, 53.

    Tierra del Fuego, 2, 8, 118, 136, 152-7.

    Tigre, El, 216-220.

    Timber, 3, 135.

    Tiro Nacional, 339.

    Titicaca, Lake, 278.

    Toay, 133.

    Toldos, 148.

    Trade conditions, 361.

    Transandine Railway, 265, 267.

    Trasandino Chileno Railway, 268.

    Transcontinental Railway, 178.

    Travelling, 158, 407-412.

    Tropic of Capricorn, 1, 114.

    Tropics, the, 8.

    Tucuman, city of, 18, 111-3, 275, 314, 325;
      province of, 113.

    Tupi-Guarani Indians, 299.

    Tupiza, Bolivia, 278.

    Tupungato, Mt., 2, 176, 181.


    Uberaponga Falls, 83.

    Undertakers, 44.

    Unitarians, 325, 329.

    United States, 8, 254, 374, 395.

    Union Civica, 347.

    Universities, 126, 233-6.

    Urquiza, General, 327, 331.

    Uriburu, José, 354.

    Uruguay, Republic of, 11, 19, 21, 305, 326.

    Uruguay River, 4, 75, 84-6, 280.

    Ushuaia, 154.

    Uspallata, 180, 316.


    Valparaiso, 178, 264, 268.

    Vendors, street, 41.

    Vermejo River (_See_ Bermejo).

    Viceroy of Peru, 303.

    Villa Encarnacion, 281.

    Villa Mercedes, 269.

    Villages, 392.

    Vultures, 116.


    Wages, 371.

    Warehouses, 26.

    Washington, George, 32.

    Wastefulness, 193.

    Water, 8.

    Water supply, 47.

    Wells, 66.

    Welsh settlements, 141.

    Western Railway, 132, 282.

    Wheat, 53, 64, 79.

    Wheelwright, William, 263.

    Wine industry, 170-3.

    Wind, the, 144.

    Windmills, 8, 51, 66.

    Women, 23, 30, 200-3, 217.

    Wool, 395.


    Yahgans, the, 156.

    Young Men’s Christian Association, 297.


    Zeballos, Pedro de, 306.

    Zarate, 79.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Argentina and Her People of To-day" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home