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THE UNIVERSITY

OF ILLINOIS

LIBIiARY

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INDIANS OF TECPAN, GUATEJL\LA.



THE EARTH AND ITS INHABITANTS






THE



UNIVERSAL GEOGRAPHY



Bv ELISEE RECLUS



EDITED

By a. H. KEANE, B.A.

MEMBER OF COUNCIL, AN'THROP. INSTIIUTE; COR. MEMB. ITALIAN AND WASHINGTON ANTHROP. SOC, ETC.



VOL. XVII.

MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA, WEST INDIES




ILLUSTRATED BY NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS AND MAPS



LONDON
J. S. VIRTUE & CO., LmiTEU, 294, CITY ROAD 6



LONnON :

rRINTFD MV J. S. VJRTt'K ANH CO., I.IMITFI).
CIIY ROAD.






CONTENTS.



I. GEyEBAT, Slkvky

Geological Changes, p. 2. Prehistoric Migrations, p. 3.
Political Changes, p. 6. Aborigines and Xegroes, p. 8.
p. 9. The Isthmian Begion, p. 12.



Gradual Settlement, p. 4.
Spaniards and Mestizoes,



PAGS

1-13



II. Mexico
1



14—190



Central Contidcratioiit, p. 14. Progress of Discovery, p. 15.

2. Mexim Proper, Xorsh of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, p. 20. Mountains and Volcanoes,
p. 20. Rivers and Lakes, p. 36. Climate, p. 4S. Flora, p. 53. Fanna, p. b6.
Inhabitants, p. 59. Ijower California, p. 93. Sonora — Sinaloa, p. 95. Chihuahua
— Durango, p. 100. North-Eastern States : Coahuila — Nuevo Leon — Tamaulipas,
p. 102. Inland States: Zacatecas — Aguascalientes — San Luis Potosi, p. 106.
Guanajuato— Jalisco and Tepic — Colima — Michoacan, p. 109. Queretaro — Hidalgo
— Mexico— Federal District, p. il5. Vera Cruz, p. 129. Morelos — Guerrero—
Oaxaca, p. 135.

3. Eatt Mexico, p. 142. Chiapas — Tabasco— Campeachy — Yucatan, p. 142. Physical
Features, p. 143. Rivers, p. 146. Climate — Flora — Fauna, p. 153. Inhabitants,
p. 154. Topography, p. 161.

4. EeoncFinie and Soeial Condition of Mexico, p. 170.

5. Government and Administration, 187.

III. BETnsH Ho>"di:bas (Belize) 191-

The Cockscomb Mountains, p. 193. Rivers, p. 194. The Seaboard, p. 195. Climate
— Flora — Fauna, p. 197. Topography, p. 197. Adniinistrarion, p. 200.



200



IV. Cen-tbai, . Avfrt ca : GuAiEstALi, Ho>"BUBAS, Saivadob. XicAEAGri, CosTi Rica .

1. General Surrey, p. 201.

2. Guatemala, p. 206. Physical Features, p. 207. Rivers and Lakes, p. 213. Climate
— Flora — Fauna, p. 217. Inhabitants, p. 218. Topography, p. 225. Material
Condition of Guatemala, p. 238.

3. San Sahador, p. 244. Physical Features, p. 244. Rivers, p. 249. Climate— Flora
— Fanna, p. 250. Inhabitants, p 250. Topography, p. 251. Economic Condition
of Salvador, p. 254.

4. Honduras, p. 255. Physical Features, p. 256. Rivers— Islands — Inlets, p. 258.
Climate — Flora— Fauna, p. 260. Inhabitants, p. 261. Topography, p. 263,
Economic Condition of Honduras, p. 266.



2ul— 311



j^ CONTENTS.

PAOB
CHAP.

5. NicarayiM, p. 270. Physical Features, p. 271. Elvers and L.akes, p. 275. Climate
—Flora— Fauna, p. 280. IiiLabitants, p. 281. Topography, p. 284. Economic
Condition of Nicaragua, p. 289. The Nicaragua Canal, p. 290. Administration,
p. 292.

6. Costa Rica, p. 293. Physical Features, p. 296. Rivers, p. 300. Climate— Flora-
Fauna, p. 301. Inhabitants, p. 303. Topography, p. 30G. Economic Condition of
Costa Rica, p. 308.

V. Panama ■ 312—337

Physical Features, p. 312. Rivers— Bays — Islands, p. 314. Climate, p. 319. Flora
—Fauna, p. 320. Inhabitants, p. 321. Topography, p. 323. The Panama Canal,
p. 329. Administration, p. 337.

VI. The Abierican Meditekeanean : Gulp of Mexico and Caeibbeant Sea . . . 338 — 353
Progress of Exploration— Soundings, p. 338. Catchment Basins, p. 341. Marine
Currents, p. 343. Atmospheric Currents, p. 345. Temperature- Marine Flora and
Fauna, p. 34S. Land Flora and Fauna, p. 349. Inhabitants, p. 350.

VII. Ctjba 354—381

Physical Features, p. 355. Rivers, p. 359. Reefs and Cays, p. 300. Climate—
Flora— Faima, p. 364. Inhabitants, p. 366. Topography, p. 370. Economic Con-
dition of Cuba, p. 379.

VIII. Jamaica 382—395

Physical Features, p. 383. Rivers— CUmate—Flora—Fauna, p. 384. Inhabitants,
p. 385. Topography, p. 392. Administration, p. 394.

IX. San Dominoo : Haiti and the Dominican Republic 396—422

1. General Survey, p. 396. Physical Features, p. 397. Rivers— Lakes — Reefs, p. 400.
Climate — Flora— Fauna, p. 403. Inhabitants, p. 404.

2. RepulUc of Haiti, p. 410.

3. San Domiiiffo, p. 418.

X. Pueeto Rico 423—429

Physical Features, p. 423. Inhabitants, p. 424. Topography, p. 425. Economic
Condition, p. 428.

XI. ViEoiN Islands and Santa Cruz 430 — 436

St. Thomas, p. 430. St. John, p. 433. Santa Cruz, p. 433. Tortola— Virgin
Gorda — Anegada, p. 436.

XII. The Bahamas 437—448

XIII. The Beemtoas 449—454

XIV. The Lessee Antilles 455 — 4S6

Sombrero— The Dogs— Anguila — St. Martin, p. 463. St. Bartholomew, p. 464.
Barbuda, p. 465. Antigua, p. 465. Saba and St. Eustatius, p. 467. St. Christopher
and Nevis, p. 468. Moutserrat, p. 470. Guadeloupe, p. 471. Dominica, p. 475.
Martinique, p. 476. St. Lucia, p. 479. St. Vincent, p 480. Grenada and the
Grenadines, p. 483. Barbados, p. 485.

Appendix ............... 487



LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS



FIG. PAGE

94. Native Populations of Guatemala . . 224

95. The Altos Kegrion 226

96. Solola and Lake Atitlan .... 229

97. SnccessiTe Displacements of Guatemala 231
9S. Thickly-Inhabited Region of Guatemala . 233
99. Lake Peten 236

100. Density of the Population in Guatemala . 237

101. Chief Products of Guatemala . . .239

102. GcATESLsxis AjxiLDES, Altos Region . 241

103. Political Divisions of Guatemala . . 243

104. ArSOL AT AHTTiCHAPAir .... 245
10.5. Volcanoes of West Salvador . . . 246

106. Lake Ilopango 247

107. Volcanoes of East Salvador . . 248

105. San Salvador and its Environs .251
109. La Libkktad, Poet of San Salvadoe . 253
XIO. Density of the Population of Salvador . 254

111. Interoceanic Waterparting, Honduras . 256

112. Bay Islands 259

113. Puerto Cortes and Lake Alvarado . 264

1 14. Fouseca Bay 267

115. Comparative Debts of Various States . 268

116. Debt per Head of Population in Various

Countries 269

117. Territory claimed at Various Times by

Great Britain . ... 270
US. MosTBACHO Volcano .isd Shores of T.tin;

XlCAEAGUA 273

119. Isthmus of Rivas 275

120. The Kiearagua Waterparting . . . 276

121. ilarrabios Range and Lake Managua . 278

122. Population of Honduras and Nicaragua . 282

123. Density of the Popidation of Honduras

and Nicaragua 2S5

124. San Juan del Norte before the Construc-

tion of the Pier 288

12-5. Projected Interoceanic Canals across Nica-
ragua 290

126. Lower San Juan Canal . . . .291

127. Political Divisions of Nicaragua . . 292

128. Gulf of Columbus 294

129. On-e of the Thebe Ceatees or Poas . 295

130. SusDcrr of Mount Ieazu . . . 297

131. Plateau and Volcanoes of Costa Rica . 298
132 Gulf of Nicova 299

133. Gulf of DulJe 301

134. GrATTJSo Indian 304

135. YoirxQ T ir>M>v r»c; Indians . . . 305

136. Puerto Limon . ..... 308

137. Mill foe Huskino Coffee . . 309

138. Highways of Communication in Costa

Rica 310

139. Administrative Divisions of Costa Rica . 311

140. Course of the River Chagrcs . . .314

141. Gulf of San Miguel. . . . . 315

142. GuU of San Bias 317

143. Caledonia Bay 318

144. Gulf of Panama 319

145. Isthmus of Chiriqui .... 322

146. Panama . 324

147. Paxama — View taken- feom Mount

AxcoN 325

148. Colon 326



149. The "Mystery of the Strait ' at the

Begi nnin g of the Sixteenth Century . 328

150. Docks and Course of the Panama Canal . 329

151. Sill of the Lock Canal . . . .330

152. Projected Artificial Lakes on the Panama

Divide 332

153. Projected Cuttings across the Isthmus of

Panama and Darien .... 333

154. Projected Canal between L'raba and San

Miguel Bays 334

155. Cupica Bay 335

156. The Raspadura Divide . . . .336

157. Gulf of Mexico 339

158. Caribbean Sea 340

159. The Puerto Rico Abyss . . . .341

160. Slopes draining to the American Medi-

terranean ...... 342

161. Main Currents of the American Medi-

terranean ...... 344

162. Deep-Sea Temperatures in the Atlantic

and West India Waters . . .346

163. Deposits on the Bed of the Atlantic and

West India Waters . . . .347

164. Aneg ad I .-ind the Horseshoe Reef . . 348

165. Snake - Catchee and Chaecoal Giel,

Maeti.mque 351

16G. Preponderance of the White and Black

Races in the West Indies . . 352

167. La Coube (Cuba) and the Mer de LentiUe 355
16S. Western Division of Cuba . . 356

169. Eastern Division of Cuba . . 357

170. Cape S;in Antonio and Corrientes Bay . 361

171. Jardinillos 362

172. Isle of Pines 363

173. Plantation of Pineapples . . . 365

174. Political Divisions of Cuba before the

Spauisb Conquest .... 368

175. ChobeebaTower ("Bvccaneers' Foef"),

at the Mouth OP the Almendakes 371

176. C^ban Seaports West of Havana . 373

177. Matanzas 374

178. Trinidad and its Harbours 375

179. Central Isthmus of Cuba . .376

180. Santiago de Cuba 37b

181. Port of Guantanamo .... 379

182. Railways of Cuba 381

183. Hilly Region in West Jamaica . 383

184. View taken at the Newcastle Saxa-

TOEmi, Jaslaica 389

185. District of Morant, Jamaica . . 391

186. Kingston and Port Royal . . . 392

187. Chief Towns of Jamaica . . .394

188. Chain of the Cayman Islands . . 395

189. Monte- Crisri Range and Vega Plain . 39S

190. View taeex feusi the Mole St. Nico-

las Pextn-stla, Haiti .... 399

191. Ozama and Bmjuelas Basins . .401

192. Isthmus of the Lakes, San Domingo . 402

193. Chief Slave-Trade Routes . . .406

194. Scene of the War of Independence . . 408

195. Disputed Territory between Haiti and

San Domingo 409

196. St. Nicolas PeniiLSula • . . .411



LIST or ILLUbTEATlONS.



no.

197. Gulf of Port-au-Prince

198. South-West Peninsula of Haiti

199. Lcs Cayes Bay
20J. Geoup of Haiitass

201. .iVzua and Ocoa Bay

202. Santo Domingo

203. Samana Bay .

204. Puerto Rico .

205. San Juan Buutista, Puerto Rico

206. South-west Comer of Puerto Ric-.

207. St. Thomas I»Iand .

208. St. Thomas Harbour

209. Virgin Island ....

210. Santa Cruz ....

211. View tax ex in Santa Cbuz Island

212. Bemini Island and Banks

213. Tongue of the Oteau



rACB


Flu.


412


214


413


215


414


210


417


217


419




420


218


4>1


219


424


220


426


221


427


222


431


223.


432


224


433


225.


434


226.


435




438


227.


441





PAGE

Nassau ....... 445

TVatling Lslund 446

The Bermudas . . . .451

View taken from Gibb's Hill, Bf.E-

MLDAS ...... 453

St. Kitts 456

A JIaktixique Ckeole Woman . 461

St. Martin ...... 464

St. John's Harbour, Antigua . . . 466

St. Eustatiu.s ...... 467

St. Kitts— View taken fkom Netis . 469

Montserrat 471

Martinique ...... 477

Lines of Navigation and Submarine Cables

in the West Indies .... 478
Geneeal View of Casteies, St. Ll-cia

Island . .... 430




LIST OF TLLUSTPvATIONS.



MAPS PRINTED' IN COLOURS.



Mexico and Central America .

Mexico and its Valley

West Indies ....



PAGE

16
118
344



Havana ....
The Guadaloupe Aroliipelago



372
472



PLATES.



Indians of Tecpan, Guatemala . Frontispiece

Isthmus of Panama — View taken from the

Cidebra .... To face page 12
Popocatepetl — View taken from the Thimecas

Rancho ... .... 27

Indian Village — View taken at the Huexooulco .

Pueblo, Province of Mexico . . .75
Panoramic View of Guanajuato . . .110

Street View in Morelia 115

City of Tida — General View . . . .117

General View of Mexico 120

The Chapidtepec Cypresses .... 123
Puebla — View taken from tlie South . .126
Vera Cruz and Fort of St. John d'Ulua . .133
Cenote of Valladolid, Yucat-.m . . . ISl

Ruins of U.xmal — The Governor's Palace . 167

The Metlac Viaduct between Cordoba and

Orizaba, on the Mexico-Vera Cruz ll:iilway 184
Belize — View taken from the Harbour . .108
View taken on Lake Atitlan . . . .214
Escuintla — General View .... 233

Indian Workwomen of the Hot Lands on the

Pacific Slope 238



Ilopango Volcano . . . To face page 246

Honduras Scenery ...... 2G0

Tegucigalpa — View taken from La Concepcion 266

Ceiba 280

Leon — View taken in the Main Thorouglifare . 284

Port Limou and Uvas Island .... 307

Panama Scenery — the Rio Chagres at Matachiu 314

Indian Settlements, Islands of San Bias Bay . 316

The Panama Canal — View taken at San Pablo 330

General View of Havana taken from Casablanca 370
General View of Matanzas . . . .373

General View of Santiago, Cuba . . . 377
Turtle Island — View taken at the Moutli of the

Tliree Rivers . . . . . .405

General View of Port-au-Prince . . .412
General View of San Juan Bautista, Puerto

Rico 425

General View of Hopetown, Abaoo Island . 444
West Indian Scenery — View taken in the

Saintes Islands ..... 473

View of Basse-Terre, Guadelupe . . 474

General View of Fortde-France, Martinique . 477

Kingston, St. Vincent Island .... 48i



LIST OF ILLUSTfiATIONS.



LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS.



1.



the



10.
11.

12.
13.
11.
Id.
16.

17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
2.'?.

24.

25.
26.
27.
28.
29.

30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
33.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.



Central American Isthmuses and Inland

Seas

citlaltepetel — view taijen feom near

Oeizaba .....
Political States of Central America
Mexico before the Annexation to

United States ....
Predominant Races in Central America
Canals and Routes across the Isthmuses
First Mexican Itineraries, 1517 to 1550
Chief Positions scientifically determined in

Mexico
Regions studied by the Officers of the

French Expedition
Relief of Mexico
Jonillo, according to Himiboldt
Ori^iaba Peak ....
Volcanoes of Mexico
IgTieous Regions and Volcanoes of Mexico
Convergence of the two Sierra Madres
Various Altitudes of the Mexican Momi'

tains and Towns ....
Tamaulipas Coast Lagoons
Coalzacoalcos Bar ....
The Regla Falls ....
Lake Chapala .....
Colorado Estuary ....
Closed Basins of Me.xico
Area of the Mexican Lakes at Various

Periods
Vertical Disposition of the Mexican

Climates

Isothermals of Mexico modified by Altitude
Vegetable Zones in Mexico
Extent of the Aztec Conquests .
Aetlpiolal Pteamtd op Cholula
Saceed Stone op Tizoc, in the Museum

OF Mexico . . : . .
First Conquests of Cortes .
Port of Siguantaneo ....
Scene of the War of Independence .
Chief Native Populations in Mexico .
Watee-Caeeiee and Toetiilas Woman
Chief Native-Races in Mexico
Prevailing Diseases in Mexico
La Paz
Guaymas .
Mazatlan .

Cathedeal of Chihuahua
Tampieo .
Zacatecas .

San Luis Potosi- Goveenment
San Bias .
Manzanillo
Ancient Mexico



Palace



11
12
16



19
21
26
30
32
33
34

35
37
38
39

42
43
44

47



50


74


51


75


55


76


63


77


69






78


71


79


74


80


76


81


79


82


82


83


85




87


84


92


85


94


86


96


87


98


88


99


89


105


90


107




109


91


112


92.


114


93.


118





FIO.

47.
48.
49.
50
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
6U.
61.
62.
63.



Cathedeal of Mexico

Mexico and its Eu™onments .

Tlalpam and Lake Xochimilco .

Indian Maeket-Gaedenee's Canoe .

Puebla in 1862

Orizaba ......

Successive Displacements of Vera Cruz

From Vera Cruz to Anton Lizardo .

Harbour Works in Progress at Vera Cruz

Acapulco ......

Chief Ruins of Central Mexico .

Isthmus of Tehuantepec .

Salina Cruz, the new Port of Tehuantepec,

Minatitlan, Northern Port of Tehuantep.

Bank of Yucatan ....

Alacran Reef .....

The Usumacinta — View taken at the
Paso Talchilan, on the Guatemalan
Frontiee .....

Mouths of the Grijalva and Usumacinta

Terminos Lagoon ....

The Rio of Yucatan ....

Maya Youths .....

Chief Ruins of Yucatan

Ruins in the Lacandon and Tzendal Coun
tries ......

Merida and North-West Yucatan

Density of the Population in Mexico .

PuLauEEO

Maouet Plantations, San Feauoisquito
DisTEicT, NEAE Mexico

Chief Agricultural Produce in Mexico

The Worid's Yield of Silver .

The World's Y'ield of the Precious Metals

Y'ield of Gold and Silver in Various Coun-
tries since 1492 .

Chief Mineral Regions of Mexico

The Boca del Moute Ascent

Mexican Railway Systems in 1890 .

Political Dirisions of Mexico

British Hondxiras ....

Parallelism of the Old and Recent Water^
courses .....

Belize and the Cockscomb Mountains

Domains of British Honduius .

Old Straits in Central America .

Political Divisions of Central America

Trend of the Guatemalan R mges

Chain of the Fuego Volcano

Antigua : Ruins op Cheistchukch, Agua
Volcano in the Backgk und

Pacaya Volcano ....

Golfo Dulce and the Lower Motagua

Landscape in South Guatem.ila — Bamboo
JVNQLE



PAOB

119
122
124
125
128
131
132
133
134
136
138
139
140
141
144
145



147
149
151
152
157
159



163
165

171
173

175
176
178
179

180
181
184
185
188
192

196
198
199
2(12
203
207
209

211
212

216

219



THE UNIVERSAL GEOGRAPHY.



MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA, WEST INDIES.




CHAPTER I.

GENERAL SUE^^:Y.

HE insular and peninsular regions which are watered by the Gulf
of Mexico and Caribbean Sea form with the Mexican triangle a
perfectly distinct section of the New "World. Tender the latitude
of the tropic of Cancer, which traverses the Mexican plateau and
touches the extremity of the peninsxila of Lower California, the
contiaent has still a width of 550 miles, or about a tenth part of the distance
between the two oceans towards the middle of Xorth America.

But south of that line the mainland tapers and expands successively, while
developing coastlines parallel with the escarpments of the plateau. Between
Mexico proper and Chiapas occm's a first contraction at the isthmus of Tehuan-
tepec ; this is followed towards the south-east by other shrinkings and expansions,
terminating in the slender neck of land between the Gulfs of Panama and Darien,
which merges in the South American continent.

The eastern chain of the American Archipelago, comprising the Bahamas and
Lesser Antilles, forms a cordon over 1,800 miles long, which sweeps round from
the north-west to the south-east in a serpentine curve roughly parallel with that
of Mexico and Central America. This vast outer rampart, of coralline formation
in the Bahamas, of volcanic origin in the Antilles, encloses the so-called " Medi-
terranean" of the I^Tew "World, which, like the Mediterranean of the eastern
hemisphere, is divided into secondary basins, but which in other respects presents
little resemblance to that great inland sea.

VOL. XVII. B



2 MEXICO, CENTEAL AMEEICA, "WEST INDIES.

The northernmost of these basins, that is, the Gulf of JSIexico, which develops
an immense oval contour line between the peninsulas of Florida and Yucatan, is
limited southwards by the long island of Cuba, and communicates with the neigh-
bouring waters only through two passages with an average breadth of 120 miles.
The southern basin, that is, the Caribbean Sea, is of less regular form, presenting
between the Lesser Antilles and the Mosquito Coast a broad open expanse, which
is again subdivided towards the north-west by two almost completely submerged
ridges, indicated here and there by reefs and sandbanks. On one of these ridges
stands the Grand Cayman Chain, while the other connects the Tiburon peninsula
in Haiti through Jamaica with Cape Gracias a Dios. Thus the West Indies are
attached to Central America by three transverse hills which might be called those
of Cuba, of Cayman and Jamaica ; all three begin at the chain of islands sweeping
round from Grenada and the Grenadines to Puerto Rico, almost presenting the
appearance of being three branches thrown off from a single stem.

All these lines of islands and peninsulas, which are interconnected in various
directions between the northern and southern continents, give evidence of cosmic
forces acting over vast expanses of the terrestrial crust. Nevertheless their
somewhat symmetrical arrangement in intersecting curves is no proof that the
upheaved lands were at any time continuous, or that the now partly submerged
ridges themselves are the remains of isthmuses formerly stretching from continent
to continent. On the contrary numerous indications drawn from the distribution
of the animal and vegetable species seem to justify naturalists in concluding that
certain contiguous islands have never formed continuous land during the geological
record. Cases in point are the Bahamas and the Antilles, which by their natural
history are more intimately connected with the distant Central America than with
Georgia and the Carolinas. In the same way Florida belongs rather to the "West
Indies than to the mainland of which it now forms part, while the Bermudas, lost
amid the Atlantic waters, are connected with the Antilles by the Gulf Stream.

The American Mediterranean lands, although lying almost entirely within the
tropics, are perfectly accessible to man for all purposes of permanent settlement.
In this respect they present an absolute contrast with the vast regions of Africa
situated imder the same latitude. In the Old "World the desert, which begins
with the Sahara, and which is continued across Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Turkestan,
and Mongolia, comprises millions of square miles, whereas in Central America
arid spaces are of limited extent, and in fact occupy that part of Mexico which
lies north of the tropic of Cancer. Thanks to the humidity of the atmosphere
and the moderating action of the marine waters, tropical America is almost every-
where clothed with a rich vegetation. In some places are developed almost
impenetrable forests forming a continuous mass of dense verdure, and wherever
clearings are effected, economic crops may be raised in superabundance.

The white race has even succeeded in perpetuating itself in the Antilles,
notably in Cuba and Puerto Rico, adapting itself to the climate sufficiently to
cultivate the land and engage in industrial pursuits.

In Mexico and in Central America the mean elevation of the plateaux, offering



GEXEEAJ. SUETEY.



a climate analogous to that of temperate Europe, has enabled Spanish and other
immigrants to occupy the land. Flourishing European colonies have been
founded on these uplands, ■where they have acquired sufficient influence to impart
their usages, language and culture to the great mass of the aboriginal populations.
Within 100 miles of the coast Citlaltepetel, the "Star Mountain," which passing
seafarers beheld glittering at sunset and sunrise like a flaming beacon above the
arid and swampy plains of the seaboard, seemed to invite them to scale the inter-
vening heights and take possession of the breezy inland tablelands. They under-
stood the language of nature which attracted them to these uplands, where were
afterwards founded Orizaba, Cordoba, and other flourishing cities of " Xew Spain."

Kg. 1.— Central Ameeicas Isthmuses axd Inlasb Seas. •

Scale 1 : t0,0O>,0O0.




to 500
FaUioms.



Depths.

BOO to 2,000
Fathoms.



2,000 Fathoms
and upwards.



— 620Maes.



"Wliile physically distinct from the continental masses of north and south,
Central America itself is divided into secondary regions presenting such differ-
ences that the inhabitants, grouped in separate tribes and nations, remained
formerly almost completely isolated. Communications were rare and difficult, and
no ethnical cohesion had been developed amongst these isolated elements. Before
the conquest few migrations or interminglings took place, except in the Mexican
regions, which lay broadly open in the north towards the plains of Texas, the pla-
teaux and intermediate valleys of the Rocky Mountains and the CaKfornian slope.

In the Mexican legends or annals are commemorated the peaceful or conquering
movements of the populations following in successive waves of migration from

b2



4 MEXICO, CENTEAL AMERICA, WEST INDIES.

nortt to south, from the banks of the Colorado and Rio Bravo to the vallej's of
the Sierra Madre, the Anahuac tablelands and southern isthmuses. But the same
records speak of the formidable obstacles encountered by those peoples, obstacles
by which they were often arrested for decades and even centuries, and at times
compelled to retrace their steps to their original homes. To the difEculties created



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